A strong snowstorm struck the Northeastern part of the United State on January 19, 1961. It was the day before the inauguration of President John K Kennedy, temperatures held steady during the 19th at 20 and snowfall fell at 1–2 inches per hour and a total of 8 inches fell during the night, causing transportation and logistical problems in Washington and serious concern for the inauguration. On inauguration day, January 20, 1961, the skies began to clear but the snow had created chaos in Washington, almost canceling the inaugural parade. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was put in charge of clearing the streets during the evening and morning before the inauguration, and were assisted by more than 1,000 District of Columbia employees and 1,700. This task force employed hundreds of dump trucks, front-end loaders, sanders, plows, rotaries, and even flamethrowers to clear the route. Over 1,400 cars which had been stranded due to the conditions and lack of fuel had to be removed from the parade route. The snowstorm dropped visibility at Washington area airports to less than half a mile, preventing former President Herbert Hoover from flying into Washington and attending the inauguration.
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