Pat Shingleton for Thursday, July 4, 2013

In 1776, a systematic network of weather observations included only amateur weather observers scattered throughout the colonies. One observer was Benjamin Franklin, who wrote and conducted weather experiments and theorized storm movements. Weatherwise magazine reports Thomas Jefferson was an avid weather observer and for 50 years catalogued systematic records of temperature and related meteorological conditions, compiled at his home in Monticello and wherever he traveled. Jefferson owned one of only two barometers in America, purchasing 20 thermometers during his life. Archived records validate he officially began his twice-a-day weather observations on Monday, July 1, 1776. Due to important matters on July 4, afternoon readings were suspended.

Fastcast: Soggy.