On July 1, 1776, the final debate was under way in Philadelphia concerning whether the 13 American colonies should declare their independence from Great Britain. As noted in a previous column, John Dickinson, of Pennsylvania, appealed for loyalty to Britain. When John Adams began his oration, a summertime thunderstorm erupted. He delivered a powerful speech in the midst of flashes of lightning and rolling thunder. At Independence Hall, candles were lit for the Continental Congress while Adams continued his passionate address, louder than the weather outside. The next day the momentous vote was taken during another storm. Two days later, the front moved through Philadelphia, ushering in cool air for the signing of the Declaration of Independence on the Fourth of July.

Fastcast: Hot, afternoon showers.

A 20 percent chance of showers after noon. Mostly sunny and hot. High near 96. Calm winds becoming southerly at 5 mph. Tonight: Partly cloudy, low about 74. Southerly winds 5 mph becoming calm.