Founding father and first weatherman Thomas Jefferson

Writer: Lauren Kreidler
Published: Updated:
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Thomas Jefferson was a busy person during the week of July 4th.

Besides writing the Declaration of Independence, he purchased a thermometer the same week he co-signed the historic document to help him keep track of the temperature outside.

Thanks to him, we know that on July 4, 1776, it was fittingly 76 degrees at 3 p.m. in Philadelphia where the Declaration of Independence was signed.

Jefferson was an avid weather watcher who kept a diary for over 50 years with his weather observations. He logged the weather conditions twice a day, documenting the temperature and the weather conditions in his diary.

Jefferson’s weather observation record, Massachusetts Historical Society

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), he purchased his first barometer a few days following the signing of the document.

George Washington also took down regular observations; the last weather entry in his diary was made the day before he died.

Jefferson maintained an almost unbroken record of weather observations until 1816.

To this day, Thomas Jefferson’s weather log book with observations from 1776 are part of the U.S. historical climate record.

Locally here in Southwest Florida, temperatures on the 4th of July will reach the low to mid 90s with summertime storms possible in the afternoon and evening.

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