Pat Shingleton: "Ben and Tom's Forecasts"
In 1776, a systematic network of weather observations only included amateur weather observers scattered throughout the colonies. One of those observers was Benjamin Franklin who conducted weather experiments and examined storm movements. As noted in a previous column, Thomas Jefferson was also an avid observer and for 50 years catalogued systematic records of temperature and related meteorological conditions; complied at his home in Monticello and in his travels. Historians note that he broke his wrist in Paris in 1786 and continued his observations with his left hand. He owned one of only two barometers in America; purchasing 20 thermometers during his life. Archives validate his daily observations, recording 76 degrees on July 4, 1776.
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