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Fourth of July forecast: Heavy rain to dampen firework shows in mid-Atlantic, Ohio Valley

By By Brett Rathbun, Meteorologist
July 05, 2016, 4:17:04 AM EDT

Rain and thunderstorms will threaten parades, barbecues and fireworks displays across portions of the central and eastern United States and the Intermountain West on Independence Day.

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JUMP TO: Rain, thunderstorms to drench Ohio Valley to the mid-Atlantic | Spotty thunderstorms to dot Intermountain West | Dry weather to prevail across New England, Plains and West Coast


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Rounds of rain and thunderstorms will develop from portions of the Ohio Valley to the mid-Atlantic states on Independence Day. Showers and thunderstorms will also extend back to Missouri and Arkansas.

Some of these storms could produce a large amount of rain and lead to flash flooding with the risk greatest from Ohio and West Virginia to New Jersey.

"There is the potential for 2-4 inches of rain to fall where the storms repeat," AccuWeather Lead Storm Warning Meteorologist Eddie Walker said. There can be widespread amounts in excess of 3 inches across West Virginia, especially in northern and central areas.

New York City will be dry during the day before a bit of rain arrives during the evening.

A sharp line will exist on the northern edge of the rain shield separating where it rains and where it stays dry.

South of the heaviest rain, locally severe thunderstorms will develop Monday afternoon and evening across West Virginia and Kentucky.

The heavy rain and thunderstorms in the evening threaten to delay or cancel fireworks shows.

"Evening fireworks displays could be in jeopardy in cities such as Louisville, Cincinnati and Washington, D.C." AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Pydynowski said.


Thunderstorms are likely to be more spotty in nature in the southeastern United States.

"A typical smattering of thunderstorms will fire up across Florida during the afternoon, but many should dissipate by dark as fireworks get underway," Pydynowski said.

Spotty thunderstorms to dot Intermountain West

With the monsoon season underway across the Intermountain West, spotty showers and thunderstorms can develop during the afternoon and evening hours on Independence Day.

Any thunderstorm that develops is likely to form over the mountains during the afternoon hours and drift toward the lower-elevation areas during the evening.

As these tend to be slow-moving, flash flooding will be a concern where any storm develops.

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People in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Aspen, Colorado; and Casper, Wyoming, should keep an eye to the sky and seek shelter should a storm approach.

Farther to the east of the mountains, a cluster of severe thunderstorms will develop around the Texas panhandle late in the day and evening. Worse than ruining firework displays, the thunderstorms will pose a risk to lives and property in Amarillo, Texas, and Guymon, Oklahoma, by producing damaging winds, hail and flash flooding.


Dry weather to prevail across New England, Plains and West Coast

Sunshine will be in store across portions of New England, the Great Lakes, Plains and West Coast. Sunglasses and sunscreen will be a necessity.

The one exception will be where a thunderstorm develops in the Dakotas and northwestern Minnesota. Showers will also dampen parts of Washington. Any morning low clouds along the rest of the immediate West Coast will give way to afternoon sunshine.

Low humidity across New England and the upper Great Lakes will favor excellent conditions for any outdoor barbecues or fireworks shows.

Those spending the day outside across the Plains and interior Southwest will also want to bring along plenty of water as temperatures will soar into 90s. Highs in the 100s will sizzle the deserts of the Southwest and parts of central and western Texas.

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