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Milwaukeeans often talk about how we always get a certain type of weather on certain holidays. Are these commonly held beliefs really true?
Milwaukeeans often talk about how we always get a certain type of weather on certain holidays. Are these commonly held beliefs really true?

Milwaukee holiday weather myths

With the Fourth of July holiday upon us and Memorial Day not too far in our rear view mirror, I thought it might be interesting to look at some of Milwaukee’s most common holiday weather myths. If you’ve lived in the Milwaukee area for any substantial amount of time, you’ve probably heard them:

  • It always snows on New Year’s Eve
  • It always rains on Memorial Day
  • It’s always hot on the Fourth of July.

Like many myths, they are based in at least some minor reality. But also like most myths, the certainty with which they are tossed around far exceeds that reality.

Let’s examine the reality, starting with the upcoming Fourth of July:

Fourth of July is always hot

This myth was reinforced just one year ago. But, before I get to the details of that, I would point out that the Fourth of July is in, well, July. And the average high temperature is in the low 80s. It would be big news if it wasn’t usually pretty warm on this holiday.

Still, just how often is it blistering, blazing hot? If your memory only goes back a year or so, you might think pretty often. On July 4, 2012 Milwaukee set its all-time record high for the date by reaching 102 degrees.

However, just a year before, in 2011, the high was an unremarkable 84. In 2010, Milwaukee soared to 91, but that came after years of 74 and 71 in 2009 and 2008, respectively. In fact, you have to go back to 2003 to find the next Independence Day in the 90s, when we hit 92.

Here are specifics over the last 10 years:

YEAR HIGH LOW PRECIP
2012 102 81 0.00
2011 84 61 0.00
2010 91 69 0.02
2009 74 60 0.00
2008 71 50 0.00
2007 84 67 0.00
2006 77 61 0.00
2005 76 67 0.12
2004 79 66 0.01
2003 92 69 0.04

A little math shows that over the past 10 years, the high temperature in Milwaukee on the Fourth of July has averaged a warm, but typical 84 degrees. (And that’s with a 102 in there from last year.)

Looking back ov…

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