WASHINGTON, D.C. – Residents who call the Sunshine State home braved Washington D.C.'s colder temperatures on Tuesday to see the swearing in of President Barack Obama.
All over the city, people were bundled in scarves, coats and hats—many exposing no more than their eyes. Temperatures never reached above the mid-20s, approximately 40 degrees colder than Miami-Dade and Broward counties on Tuesday. Empty coffee cups flooded from trashcans throughout the district. The overflow quickly turned into rows of Styrofoam and paper across sidewalks and streets.
"A lot of people from Florida think they're ready, and they have no clue," said Priscilla Dames-Blake, a member of the Women for Obama group’s Miami chapter. "You absolutely must dress in layers. Sometimes it will be too warm inside, so you need to be able to take off some layers. And people definitely need to wear a scarf around their neck."
Dames-Blake said she was wearing thermal ski clothes and gloves she purchased at the Sports Authority.
She was also wearing foot warmers, and said, “I'd like to look a little cuter, but I have to wear all of this,” adding, “I'm wearing a hat, gloves, boots, just about everything."
Dames-Blake also said that for the ball she was going to, she was taking her high heels in a leather backpack she has from Kenya to the ball she planned to attend.
“I'm a dress kind of girl. So I did like the New Yorkers do…Wear the boots and take the heels in a backpack.’’
Vendors also took advantage of the chill, selling everything from Obama long-sleeve shirts and hooded sweatshirts to hand and feet warmers.
Beverly Williams, organizer of the Hot 105 bus trip from South Florida to D.C., was prepared for the trip, purchasing foot warmers and thermal socks beforehand. Originally hailing from Pensacola, she, too, had some experience with cooler temperatures than those in South Florida.
“I already had some coats. It gets pretty cold where I’m from,” she said.
But for many, the goose bumps were inspired by Obama’s inauguration, not induced by the cold. And though the colder climate presented certain inconveniences, for most, the magnitude of the moment in history outweighed any possible discomfort.
“Temperature isn’t an issue. We can deal with that,” Williams said. “I never in my life thought I would see this – an African American become president. I just wanted to be there.”