Add fireworks to the above and you have the 4th of July – Independence Day! Wednesday it is, right smack in the middle of the week! No three-day weekend this year. But there are several options here, depending on your schedule and work obligations. Some may take the entire week. Or perhaps create a “five-day” weekend and include the 4th and the days between one of the Saturday/Sundays. At least the weather will remain predictable, no matter what your plans may be. I have no recollection of a rainy 4th of July. Foggy mornings are a possibility, but come nightfall a clear sky will await the fireworks. The only competition will be a full moon. These two events, combined, will make for one spectacular evening.
Before continuing, I can’t take responsibility for last Sunday’s weather! In this case I wish I could. My predictions for fog and drizzle were way off, as the day was stellar – breezy and warm, with clear blue skies. In matters concerning weather, I claim amateur status. So it can be said of several of the Founding Fathers who signed the Declaration of Independence. Those very men whose dedication gave rise to a new nation also recorded some of its first weather observations. The following are actual accounts during the historical time in July 1776.
Thomas Jefferson, who served as the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, was an avid weather observer, keeping records of temperatures and other meteorological events for over 50 years. On July 4, 1776 he made note of a purchase of a thermometer from a local merchant for 15 pounds ($300 today). At 9 a.m. it read 82.5F and 7 p.m.- 82F. He normally took a reading at 3 p.m., but was detained at the Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall) with fellow delegates working on the final details of the Declaration.
In his diary “The Remembrance,” Philadelphian-chemist and pharmacist Christopher Marshall wrote, “July 4 began with fine sunshine…then grew very warm with a southerly wind” and “At 4 came a thunder gust with rain, then cleared by 6.” Historians mostly agree with these accounts, but also add humidity as an uncomfortable condition.
Thomas Jefferson may have kept his daily weather records, but Benjamin Franklin was the real scientist. He conducted meteorological experiments and studied the movements of storms (perhaps America’s first storm chaser?). James Madison was recruited by Jefferson to note observations. Both men lamented the loss of their barometers to the hands of the British, as one was broken and the other stolen. Just think… the hands that penned the Declaration of Independence were also on the weather.
The NWS is calling for a continuation of “un-June-like days” with daytime highs close to 90 and nights at 60. Perfect 4th of July weather!
“Happy Birthday, America!”
2011-12 Rain Season Total: 14.06 inches.
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.