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W.Va. Governor's Inauguration Day Weather

Weather History of W.Va. Governor Days

You do not become a weatherman unless you have a keen interest in weather history. Naturally the big events are the most memorable. Heat waves, blizzards and derechos are given names by the year they occur. The Blizzard of ’93, the Great Heat Wave of 1988 and the Derecho of 2012 come immediately to mind for many who braved them in WSAZ.com land.

So on this eve of the West Virginia Governor Inauguration Day, I did some research on the weather for recent "second Monday’s after first Wednesday’s in the Mountain State". After all, that’s the mathematical formula used to determine the big day for the new gov!

If you are attending the outdoor ceremony, get set for a chilly and rather dull day as Earl Ray Tomblin takes the oath of office at the WV rotunda on Monday. Figure noon-time temperatures near 40 with a wind chill of 35 degrees. Not too cold, but 35 degrees colder than this past weekend's springy days!

Here’s the verbatim I used for my story which ran on MY Z 10 o’clock news and Newschannel 3 at 11 on Sunday.

“It was a mess," said former WSAZ anchor Boz Johnson. "This is the kind of weather temperature-wise, but we had snow!”

That’s right, weather not snow is what Boz Johnson remembers most about the third Monday in January in 1965. That Day a damp wind chilled Mountaineers to the bone as Hewlett Smith became the 27th governor of WV.

Four years later, Arch Moore took the oath of office on an “uneventfully” chilly winter day.

When it comes to longevity, former 2 time governor Cecil Underwood pledged his allegiance to WV a record 4 decades apart. This rare footage from Mr. Underwood’s first inauguration in 1957 shows the parade went on as scheduled despite the cold. Note the snow on the steps of the state capitol.

Of course the grand daddy of all cold inaugurations came in 1977. In the heart of the coldest winter of the 20th century, Jay Rockefeller became the 29th governor of wildly Cold and wonderfully snowy WV. The noon temperature hovered near zero with a wind chill near 20 below as an estimated five thousand braved the brutally cold weather.

In 1989, Gaston Caperton enjoyed some of the sunnier and more pleasant weather WV has to offer in January for his first inauguration.

Finally, both inaugurations of Joe Manchin came on cold and snowy days…though the show went on as Joe and his wife Gayle walked Kanawha Boulevard and the Pride of WV, the Mountaineer Marching Band serenaded the new governor.

I hope fellow Mountaineers enjoyed this trip down weather memory lane!


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