Not surprisingly for the hottest holiday of the year, scorching temperatures will be the main weather story for many people over the Fourth of July weekend.
Some of the hottest temperatures, compared with average, will be in the north-central U.S., where readings could soar into the 90s in cities such as Chicago, Detroit and Minneapolis.
High levels of humidity will add to the heat misery throughout much of the southern and central U.S. through the weekend.
Another hot spot will be the Desert Southwest, where Phoenix could be 110 degrees or hotter, according to weather.com, which said most other areas of the country will see highs close to the average for this time of year.
This means highs in the 80s and 90s for much of the nation, except for portions of New England and along the immediate West Coast, where temperatures should top out in the 70s.
Outdoor plans for folks in one part of the country may be threatened: The main area of storminess on the Fourth will be in the South, thanks to a stalled area of low pressure forecast to linger over the region through the weekend.
The most widespread showers and thunderstorms are predicted to ignite across the area from the Mississippi Delta region to the southern Atlantic coast in the days leading up to the holiday and through the weekend, according to AccuWeather.
The storms could bring flash flooding because of localized heavy rain totals, the National Weather Service said.
AccuWeather meteorologist Mary Gilbert said that “while a majority of the individual storms across the Southeast through the weekend will not be heavy in nature, even repeated rounds of moderate rainfall can lead to some flooding issues across the region.”
On the Fourth, the Southern states with the greatest chances for rain and thunderstorms include Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, according to the Weather Channel.
Most of the western U.S. will be dry, AccuWeather said, except for spotty late-day thunderstorms that may be limited to the mountains from late this week to this weekend.
The greatest threats from these highly rural thunderstorms will be for isolated flash flooding and lightning strikes that could ignite wildfires, according to AccuWeather senior meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.
As for dust from the Sahara, while the highest concentration of the dust has dissipated, another round affecting the western and central Gulf Coast states Thursday should persist through the end of the week, according to the weather service.
“The primary impacts of the Saharan dust are hazy skies during the day, locally reduced visibility, degraded air quality and the potential for vividly colorful sunrises and sunsets,” the weather service said.