Americans everywhere will be out for barbecues, festivals and fireworks this week, but some will be threatened by bad weather. Independence Day is one of the biggest outdoor occasions in the U.S., but a large swath of the country may not be able to celebrate on Thursday itself.
According to AccuWeather.com, much of the eastern U.S. will have thunderstorms to close out the week. From southern Pennsylvania down to Georgia, heavy thunderstorms are expected throughout the afternoon. The storms will come with "slow-moving downpours," and potentially even flooding in some saturated areas. Property damage is not out of the question in some cases.
Meanwhile, the region north of that is safe, from the mid-Atlantic to New England. The western half of Florida may experience storms, but most of the south-east will deal more with extreme heat than rain.
A huge swath of the country will face thunderstorms, however, tracing a diagonal line from Texas to New York, and then across the top of the country to Washington state. Luckily, Western Texas, the south-west, California, Oregon, Nevada and Utah should all be safe. However, the very center of the country, including Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota, will be faced with "severe thunderstorms."
Where ever they are, experts say the worst of the storms will occur between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m., and should not last more than about an hour. Of course, these things are never set in stone, so revellers should plan accordingly for their Fourth of July.
Sadly, if the storms time out just right, some communities may have to cancel or postpone their fireworks displays. However, experts predict that the shows in New York City and Boston should be safe. The fireworks in cities like Chicago, Washington D.C. and even Philadelphia are not so certain.
Experts are also urging people to be mindful if they are in a dry part of the country. In the south-east, dry weather have created the perfect conditions for wildfires, and fireworks are just the thing to start a dangerous blaze. Southern California has been plagued by destructive fires in recent months, and irresponsible fireworks displays could light another.
Thankfully, more and more professional Independence Day celebrations are relying on a safer fireworks alternative: LED drone shows. With advances in drone technology, they can be programmed to fly in swarms, flashing different colored lights and putting on a dynamic performance that conventional fireworks could not hope to achieve.