Independence Day Weather

Is it just me, or is it impossible to believe we are looking at July 4th coming up this weekend? This year seems to be flying by! As we get ready for the upcoming holiday weekend, let’s take a look back at what we know about the ORIGINAL independence day weather, as well as what’s in the forecast around the country for this year.

flag of U.S.A.

While we don’t have nearly as much detail about the weather back in 1776, many of the Founding Fathers (and many others!) took detailed weather observations each day. Especially for farmers, understanding weather patterns was critical to converting seeds each spring into viable income for the year. Thomas Jefferson is well known to have kept a detailed weather log over a period of decades, both from his home in Monticello and when he was travelling.

Courtesy: Library of Congress.

On July 4, 1776, Jefferson, in Philadelphia, recorded a 6:00 AM temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit, and a 1:00 PM temperature of 76 degrees Fahrenheit. He recorded no rain on that date. For reference, the normal maximum temperature in Philadelphia on July 4, based on the newly calculated 1991-2020 climate normals, is 87.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Even back in 1776, July 4 was likely a very pleasant and seasonable day for early July.

Independence Day 2021

So, what’s in the forecast for this year? At the time of this writing, the National Weather Service is forecasting very hot conditions to persist in the Pacific Northwest, while seasonable or even below normal temperatures, perfect for outdoor celebrations, will occur across the Northeast.

NWS forecast maximum temperatures for July 4.

Chances of precipitation are relatively low except for along the immediate Gulf Coast:

NWS forecast probability of precipitation for July 4.

For those with plans to view fireworks, it looks like the cloudiest conditions will occur along the Gulf coast and Florida, with partly cloudy or mostly clear skies elsewhere.

NWS forecast sky cover for 8:00 PM EDT July 4.

What about severe weather? While there is a slight chance of thunderstorms in many parts of the country, there is a marginal risk of severe storms only along the mid-Atlantic coast.

Convective Outlook for July 4.

In terms of tropical weather, the National Hurricane Center is keeping an eye on two Atlantic disturbance, only one of which has a medium (40%) chance of tropical cyclone formation by July 4.

National Hurricane Center tropical Atlantic outlook.

Overall, in many places across the country, the weather looks good for celebrating the holiday. We wish everyone a wonderful 4th!

fireworks at nighttime

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