July 4th Climatology

climate graph
July 4th temperatures, precipitation, and 7 PM dew point in the Twin Cities.

 

July 4th is not just a federally recognized holiday; in normal times, it is a recreational bonanza for Minnesotans, who often take to the lakes, rivers, parks, trails, and campsites to enjoy the state's bountiful outdoor resources. Indeed, the 4th of July is the informal mid-point of Minnesota's summer.

Of course, the weather shapes our experiences, and our memories, and the period around 4th of July has a higher frequency of hazardous weather in Minnesota than any other major holiday. Near the peaks of our extreme heat, severe thunderstorm, and excessive rainfall seasons, this holiday has a long history of soaring temperatures, howling thunderstorms, and drenching rains.

On average, Minnesota experiences extremes of heat during the week surrounding the 4th of July about once every 4-5 years. In 2012, the 4th of July had temperatures in the 90s throughout the state with 100s in the south. The Twin Cities recorded a high of 101 F and a low of 81--both records for the day. Along with dew points in the 70s, it was a steamy Independence Day for sure.

Several of Minnesota’s most significant straight-line windstorms on record were on or near the 4th of July also, including the infamous Boundary Waters Blowdown of July 4, 1999, when 80-100 mph winds downed tens of millions of trees and stranded hundreds in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Other convective windstorms with gusts of 100 mph or more stretched from the Lake Minnetonka area to the St. Croix River east of North Branch on July 3, 1983, and across the Brainerd, Mille Lacs, and Pine City areas on July 4th, 1977.

Approximately three out of five years lead to at least one tornado in Minnesota during the week around July 4th. Large hail (at least one inch in diameter) is reported in the state during that same week in 9 out of 10 years, on average. 

The holiday has had its share of excessive rainfall too, with flash-floods occurring somewhere in the state on or near July 4th once every two years, on average. Destructive flash-flooding struck west-central Minnesota on July 3-4, 1995, with nearly 10 inches of rain reported in Milan and Big Bend City.

Looking back at records dating to 1871 for the Twin Cities (1873 for temperature and 1903 for 7 PM dew point temperature), the average high and average low temperatures for Independence Day are 83 degrees F and 64 F, respectively. 2012 came in as the warmest July 4th on record, at 101 degrees, during an extremely warm early July. The state record high for the date is 106 F, set in 1988 at Browns Valley. The highest 7 PM dew point for the date in the Twin Cities was 75 F, in 1986.

July 4th can be quite cool too. In 1967 the Twin Cities recorded a high temperature of just 58 degrees, which was the last time the July 4th high temperature failed to reach 70 degrees in the Twin Cities. The record low temperature for the date in the Twin Cities is 43 F, set in 1972. That same year, Tower, MN, recorded a low of 27 F, the state record for the 4th of July.

The heaviest rainfall in the Twin Cities occurred in 1900, when 2.27 inches fell. The most recent washout in the Twin Cities (when the weather forced widespread fireworks cancellations), occurred in 1995, when the Twin Cities reported 0.24 inches, after more extreme rains hit western Minnesota.

Everyone has a 4th of July weather story, but the State Climatology Office has not confirmed a single instance of snow falling on July 4 in the Twin Cities, or anywhere else in the state.

Year by Year Climatology for Independence Day in the Twin Cities: 1871-2019
Year		Max	Min    Precip	 
1871-07-04	M	M	0.07	 
1872-07-04	M	M	0.02 
1873-07-04	82	60	0.62 
1874-07-04	94	71	0.00 
1875-07-04	73	60	0.00 
1876-07-04	84	61	0.11 
1877-07-04	85	64	0.06 
1878-07-04	85	60	0.00 
1879-07-04	87	60	0.00 
1880-07-04	87	64	0.00	  
1881-07-04	91	65	0.00	  
1882-07-04	82	53	0.00 
1883-07-04	82	64	0.03 
1884-07-04	80	60	0.28 
1885-07-04	87	65	0.03 
1886-07-04	88	66	0.16 
1887-07-04	75	60	0.05 
1888-07-04	81	55	0.01 
1889-07-04	77	52	0.00 
1890-07-04	75	51	0.00 
1891-07-04	75	56	0.00 
1892-07-04	77	57	0.00 
1893-07-04	86	67	0.03 
1894-07-04	78	56	0.00 
1895-07-04	86	63	0.00 
1896-07-04	76	67	T	 
1897-07-04	87	66	0.72 
1898-07-04	84	62	0.00 
1899-07-04	81	62	0.00
1900-07-04	91	65	2.27 (Wettest July 4th)
1901-07-04	84	63	0.47
1902-07-04	83	65	1.38 
1903-07-04	70	58	0.20 
1904-07-04	78	58	0.12 
1905-07-04	68	62	0.05 
1906-07-04	78	61	T 
1907-07-04	86	66	0.16 
1908-07-04	79	61	0.00 
1909-07-04	64	58	0.10 
1910-07-04	83	55	0.00 
1911-07-04	95	66	0.52 
1912-07-04	85	67	0.64 
1913-07-04	85	65	1.50 
1914-07-04	90	66	0.00 
1915-07-04	62	50	0.17 
1916-07-04	80	66	T 
1917-07-04	75	53	0.46 
1918-07-04	81	65	0.15 
1919-07-04	80	66	0.24 
1920-07-04	78	61	0.33 
1921-07-04	84	65	0.00 
1922-07-04	81	56	0.00 
1923-07-04	85	66	0.08 
1924-07-04	80	57	0.00 
1925-07-04	79	61	0.00 
1926-07-04	81	68	0.01 
1927-07-04	73	56	0.09 
1928-07-04	85	68	0.00 
1929-07-04	82	62	0.04 
1930-07-04	82	61	0.45 
1931-07-04	80	64	0.20 
1932-07-04	71	50	T 
1933-07-04	86	64	0.00 
1934-07-04	90	68	0.02 
1935-07-04	94	77	0.01 
1936-07-04	84	64	0.00 
1937-07-04	86	66	0.00 
1938-07-04	87	67	0.85 
1939-07-04	93	65	0.00 
1940-07-04	85	59	0.00 
1941-07-04	85	56	0.00 
1942-07-04	72	56	0.00 
1943-07-04	85	66	0.00 
1944-07-04	89	69	0.00 
1945-07-04	86	58	0.01 
1946-07-04	78	61	T 
1947-07-04	81	67	0.26 
1948-07-04	91	69	0.00 
1949-07-04	100	75	0.00 
1950-07-04	74	59	0.00 
1951-07-04	74	52	0.01 
1952-07-04	90	60	0.00 
1953-07-04	89	67	0.00 
1954-07-04	82	62	0.00 
1955-07-04	90	71	T 
1956-07-04	78	62	T 
1957-07-04	75	66	0.00 
1958-07-04	74	62	0.20 
1959-07-04	84	67	0.00 
1960-07-04	73	49	0.00 
1961-07-04	72	60	0.22 
1962-07-04	71	65	0.04 
1963-07-04	82	55	0.00 
1964-07-04	80	54	0.00 
1965-07-04	88	59	0.02 
1966-07-04	88	69	0.00 
1967-07-04	58	49	0.00 
1968-07-04	82	60	0.00 
1969-07-04	87	66	0.01 
1970-07-04	78	57	0.03 
1971-07-04	84	66	T 
1972-07-04	71	43	0.00 
1973-07-04	83	59	0.00 
1974-07-04	83	62	0.00 
1975-07-04	86	70	0.04 
1976-07-04	88	60	0.00 
1977-07-04	92	75	0.01 
1978-07-04	79	64	0.00 
1979-07-04	80	61	0.00 
1980-07-04	90	62	T 
1981-07-04	85	64	0.00 
1982-07-04	99	64	0.00 
1983-07-04	75	59	0.03 
1984-07-04	84	64	T 
1985-07-04	82	63	0.02 
1986-07-04	89	68	T 
1987-07-04	83	62	0.00 
1988-07-04	95	67	0.00 
1989-07-04	95	67	0.00 
1990-07-04	84	67	0.03 
1991-07-04	78	62	0.10 
1992-07-04	71	53	0.00 
1993-07-04	85	68	0.26 
1994-07-04	86	67	0.04 
1995-07-04	76	68	0.24 (fireworks washout) 
1996-07-04	87	61	0.00 
1997-07-04	73	52	0.07 
1998-07-04	77	60	0.00 
1999-07-04	93	80	0.00 
2000-07-04	80	69	0.00 
2001-07-04	79	63	0.00 
2002-07-04	85	63	0.00 
2003-07-04	85	67	0.05 
2004-07-04	82	65	0.00 
2005-07-04	82	64	0.00 
2006-07-04	79	63	0.00			  
2007-07-04	90	67	T 
2008-07-04	83	60	0.00				  
2009-07-04	78	63	0.15				  
2010-07-04	85	73	0.10		 
2011-07-04	90	68	0.00				  
2012-07-04	101	81	T	(Hottest July 4th)
2013-07-04 	90	66	0.00	
2014-07-04	78 	60	0.00
2015-07-04	85	65	0.00
2016-07-04	80	61	0.00
2017-07-04	86	67	0.00
2018-07-04	83	71	0.67 (heavy rain in the morning)
2019-07-04	85	71	0.15

 

Last modified: June 30, 2020