July 4th forecast: Summer heat returns to DC for holiday weekend

Five key points:

  • 90s return to the region Thursday afternoon, with hot weather expected to continue through at least the Fourth of July holiday.
  • Travel weather Friday is hot but generally quiet. While we can’t rule out a storm around the immediate metro region, the best chances will be over the highlands to the west.
  • The best chance of thunderstorms in the region will be Saturday during the late afternoon and evening. Sunday’s storm risks are not zero, but they are not particularly high either.
  • As things stand now, we cannot rule out a few storms on the July 4th holiday, however these look to be few and far between. It will be hot and humid, with low-to-mid 90s expected.
  • Storm risks should diminish after sunset as daytime heating subsides. Biggest concern for fireworks could be some low level clouds. We will monitor this over the next few days.

After an early work week that felt much more like spring in Washington than summer, temperatures begin their journey back to the hot and humid weather we are used to here in late June and early July around the region. As you read this, an area of high pressure is setting itself east of our region over the Atlantic.

This feature, known as a “Bermuda high”, is a strong warming signal for our region. Winds will be turning winds in the D.C. region out of the south-southwest for the majority of the next week, meaning southern heat and humidity will continue to stream into our region throughout this time period. By the weekend, humidity will have a firm grip on the region.

THE WEEKEND

Upper 80s and low 90s on Saturday will feel more like mid-to-upper 90s region wide with the surplus of moisture in the air. On Saturday afternoon, a piece of energy will cross the mountains and give the region its best shot at precipitation over the next seven days, with widespread scattered thunderstorms expected. Weather models suggest that the best chance for these storms will be after 2 pm in the District.

By Sunday, a front will stall north of our region across central Pennsylvania. We will be close enough to these feature that we can rule out a pop-up thunderstorm, but far enough away that they should not be too widespread. The majority of the region will stay dry on Sunday.

 

HAPPY (HOT) FOURTH!

By Monday, storm risks are diminished and humidity looks to be a little more manageable, though still noticeable. A good amount of sunshine means temperatures should cross the 90° mark once again. Independence Day Tuesday sees humidity start to creep back up into the uncomfortable range once again to go along with the hottest 4th of July forecast since 2012 when the mercury hit a sweltering 99°.

Sun will mix with occasional clouds, but anyone heading downtown to the parade or to celebrations on the National Mall will want the sunscreen, as well as some extra water to keep hydration up as you are sure to be sweating!

During the afternoon, a weak piece of energy will attempt to cross the mountains and cross the region. As it does so, it could kick up what at this time looks to be some widely-scattered showers and thunderstorms. These are not something that will ruin the day, but just beware if you hear thunder roar, you may have to find some shelter for 30-60 minutes as the storms pass though.

 

EARLY FIREWORKS FORECAST

Storms will be driven by the heat and instability, so as the sun sets any storms in the region should begin to dissipate. This should put us in pretty good shape for the fireworks which typically start around 9:15 pm, however there is the risk with higher humidity levels that there could be a few low clouds around the region. Something like that is difficult to predict 5 days in advance however, so be sure to check back over the next few days for details.

 

... AND IF YOU'RE HEADED TO THE BEACH...

Many take advantage of the July 4th holiday to hit the beach! The good news is that, generally speaking, it looks like a great extended weekend for the beach. Similar to here in Washington, storm risk for the nearby Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia beaches are greatest on Saturday evening, however they are less likely at the shore than they are closer to the immediate metro region.

Both Monday and the holiday Tuesday look to be dry and filled with a good amount of sunshine. Fourth of July concerts in Ocean City, Md. and the parades in Bethany Beach and Rehoboth, Del. should get off without a hitch. Temperatures along the beaches look to be warm in the 80s, but you will not need to go very far inland to hit the 90s. As of the writing of this article, conditions look to be good for evening fireworks along all the beaches.

We will of course update this should anything change with this forecast. So is there anything bad about the weekend? Well, the water temperatures remain a tad on the chilly side in the mid to upper 60s. Other than that, it look like a pretty good holiday overall at the beaches.

The FOX 5 weather team will keep you up to date on the forecast! Enjoy and save a very safe holiday weekend and Fourth of July!
 

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