It's the Saturday before one of the coldest presidential inauguration days in recent history -- the temperature is currently forecast to be in the 20s as Barack Obama swears in. A million or more people are expected to be spending several hours outdoors wandering the Mall. Do you know where your mittens are?
According to NPR social media guy Andy Carvin, your mittens, handwarming packs, parkas and long underwear are at REI; specifically the REI in College Park, Maryland, where he reports on Twitter the lines are 40 deep. The store has sold 2,500 handwarmer packs so far today, and with two shopping days remaining until the festivities, one can only imagine how many the outdoor supply chain will sell in the company's four Washington, D.C. area stores.
If you're wondering, Carvin is buying a capilene undershirt and silk sock liners: so his toes will be extra warm. If he ever gets through the checkout line...
And for the record, in January 1985, President Ronald Reagan endured temperatures of 7°F, and decided to move the swearing-in indoors. Other inaugurations in the 20s include Jimmy Carter at 28°F, John F. Kennedy at 22°F, and Franklin D. Roosevelt's second inauguration in 1941, 29°F. But the worst weather-related inauguration story comes from 1841, when President William Henry Harrison, having given a one hour, 40 minute speech without a hat or overcoat and riding his horse to and from the ceremony, caught a cold that turned into pneumonia and killed him a month later. Dear President-elect: Please wear a hat.
Washington-area REI stores flooded with inauguration shoppers