The following are notations and records of what the weather was like on the Fourth of July throughout the United States from various years.
1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote in his personal memoranda book that he had purchased his first thermometer and signed the Declaration of Independence. At 2 p.m. it was 76° and cloudy.
1816, Savannah, GA was chilling as it never got out of the 40’s. In fact, it is known as “the Year Without Summer”, and the “Poverty Year.” It marked the first time of a vast migration from the northeast to the Midwest. Frost and snow killed most crops in May and June from the Midwest to the south and up to Maine. There was between six and twelve inches of snow on the ground on June 7th — across the New England states. By July, it was still cold and thoughts of famine were beginning to circulate as all corn, beans, and vegetable crops were gone. Fortunately, wheat and potatoes made a comeback in July, which survived the cool weather.
1876, celebrating the Centennial, the upper Atlantic coastline states were in the midst of a heatwave. Boston had 92°, NYC 94°, and Washington D.C. 96°.
1911, record setting high temperatures scorched the country in a massive heatwave from the Midwest to New England: Boston 104° (hottest temperature ever recorded in Boston), Portland, ME 103°, Vernon, VT 105°, Nashua, NH 106°, Pittsburgh, PA 100°, Albany, New York 104°, Rockford, IL 101°,Tulsa, OK 108°, Chicago also set its record high of 102° — the only time that Chicago has broken the 100° mark on the fourth of July.
1936, Omaha, NE hits 110° for its high record. Sioux Falls, SD hit 111°. Burlington, IA hit 108° but the heat wave continued to produce temps at or above 103° for the next two weeks!
1949, New York Central Park hit 102°.
1956, a record rainfall of 1.23 inches fell in one minute in Unionville, MD.
1967, a high pressure system behind a strong cold front brought the temperatures down to record lows in much of the upper plains; Bismark, ND 36°, Rockford, IL 46°, Sioux City, IA 46°, Fargo, ND 37°, Waterloo, IA 43°, Des Moines, IA 48°, Springfield, IL 49°, International Falls, MN 36°, Omaha, NE 48° and Concordia, KS 50°.
1969, southwest Michigan experienced a severe tornado, destroying a tire factory in Flat Rock, sending sheet metal a mile away, while another tornado hit Jackson and destroyed several mobile homes. Strong winds of up to 100 mph and 4 – 15 inches of rain fell across northern Ohio, causing major flash floods and millions in damages.
1972, another cold front from Canada came down into the Midwest setting new low temperatures from Kansas to Minnesota. Topeka 47°, Chicago 50°, St. Paul 43°, Grand Rapids, MI 45°, Sault St. Marie, MI 37°, Williston, ND 38°, Duluth, MN 40°, Blair, WI 36°, Jump River, WI 27°, Grand Forks, ND 36° and Rochester, MN 43° but in El Centro, CA (southwestern desert town, 50 feet below sea level), a new high temp was set at 118°!
1975, Pendleton, OR set its record high at 107°. Yakima, WA set its high temperature as well, at 104°.
1978, North and South Dakota experienced severe weather. High winds hit South Dakota in excess of 90 mph, destroying several buildings. Also tornadoes touched down in three separate counties. North Dakota had a very violent F4 tornado, continuing longer than one hour, causing severe damages and fatalities in the town of Elgin, ND.
1981, New York City had its rainiest 4th of July ever with 1.76 inches of rain, and having had rain everyday since July 1st. Interestingly enough, the rain stopped in time for the fireworks display!
1984, Monroe County Missouri received hail up to 4.5 inches in diameter during a thunderstorm.
1987, Clearwater, Kansas received thunderstorms with winds gusts up to 82 mph. Over in Menno, SD 8 inches of rain fell in four hours. Austin, KY received 3 inches of rain in just over 15 minutes. Oneonta, AL received 8.6 inches of rain in 24 hours, causing floods and mudslides.
1988, two days in a row of heavy rain and thunderstorms drenched Monroe, LA with 3.75 inches of rain in two hours. But, up in the upper Midwest, a heat wave was rolling through. Aberdeen and Rapid City, SD both reported a record of 105°.
1989, record high temps were set in much of the nation. Overall, nineteen cities had new high record temperatures. Some of the new record temps were: Riverside, CA 108° and Borrego Springs, CA 118°, Tucson, AZ 114, Phoenix, AZ 118°, Alamosa, CO 93°, Denver, CO 101° (part of five consecutive days with temperatures over 100°, the next couple of days it reached 102° and 103°) and at Williston, ND the new high temp was 107°.
1995, lightning struck during a fireworks display in Visalia, NC. The bolt of lightning hit a construction crane, traveled through the soaking wet ground and through a fence, hitting seventy people in total. Nobody was killed but it is believed to be the largest number of people ever struck by a single bolt of lightning. The Midwest had rain with Chicago receiving a record 1.72 inches in less than 24 hours.
1996, Dallas, TX set its new record high temp at 105°, breaking the 104° set in 1980. After reaching the new high, thunderstorms rolled in over the area with high winds, some reaching 80mph.
1998, three counties in Florida, Flagler, Brevard and Volusia, were evacuated due to wild fires. More than 480,000 acres of land was burnt, destroying over 360 buildings. In Denver, CO 2.75 inches of rain fell in a violent thunderstorm, along with marble sized hail, causing flooding over local roads and fields.
2001, severe hail, up to 3 inches in diameter, fell in Scottsbluff, NE, injuring a dozen people and causing upwards of $50 million in damages. Meanwhile, Palm Springs, CA and Victorville, CA set high temp records of 120° and 111° respectively.
2007, St. George, UT hit a high record of 118°.