Extreme weather condition looms Independence Day celebrations across the United States
Tuesday, July 4, 2023
Independence Day celebrations across the central, southern, and eastern United States are at risk as meteorologists warn of potentially severe thunderstorms on Tuesday.
The meteorological experts highlight the primary danger of lightning strikes for those spending time outdoors during the holiday. As a precautionary measure, people are advised to seek shelter indoors upon hearing distant thunder, as picnic pavilions, tents, and golf carts do not provide adequate protection. Standing beneath trees or on porches is also hazardous.
Thunderstorms are expected to be active across a vast region spanning the eastern and southern United States, from Tuesday afternoon to evening. This includes areas from New York City to eastern Arkansas and northeastern Louisiana. Some thunderstorms may become severe, accompanied by flooding downpours, strong wind gusts, and hail. The strongest storms could produce wind gusts between 55 and 65 mph, with the possibility of an AccuWeather Local StormMax gust reaching 80 mph. Such winds surpass the minimum threshold for a Category 1 hurricane (74 mph).
Coastal areas may experience a delayed onset of thunderstorms due to the presence of a sea breeze acting as a temporary buffer. However, when the sea breeze weakens in the evening, thunderstorms are likely to push through and move offshore. By sunset, the majority of thunderstorms in New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., are expected to have shifted eastward. However, light winds and residual moisture in the air could create hazy and foggy conditions, potentially impacting visibility during fireworks displays.
Throughout Tuesday evening, central and eastern New England, as well as southeastern Virginia and portions of the Southeast along the Interstate 20 and 85 corridors, may experience persistent clouds, showers, and isolated thunderstorms. Meanwhile, a large area of severe weather is anticipated over the Plains, including parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Major cities such as Denver, Minneapolis, and Omaha are at risk for severe weather, including damaging winds, hail, torrential downpours, and even a few tornadoes.
On Wednesday, while thunderstorm intensity and coverage are expected to diminish in the Eastern states, the central United States will remain at risk. Portions of northeastern Mexico, eastern Colorado, western Kentucky, Indiana, and the western Lower Peninsula of Michigan may experience severe thunderstorms with heavy rainfall and frequent wind gusts of 60 to 70 mph. Major cities like Denver, Chicago, St. Louis, and Kansas City are within the potential impact zone.
The risk of severe weather will persist on Thursday, primarily in parts of the Plains, including Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming. There is the possibility of a severe thunderstorm complex developing in northeastern Colorado and moving southeastward into Kansas during Thursday night.
While thunderstorms are not expected west of the Rockies, dangerous conditions may arise due to building heat and smoke from wildfires in western Canada, affecting outdoor activities in parts of the Northwest.