The 4th of July is back this year! And with many outdoor activities to choose from this year across Central Texas, it’s likely one of them will involve fireworks.
When it comes to anything outside, the weather plays a major role in it all. And it is no different when it comes to fireworks.
WeatherSTEM offers up the five elements that can impact fireworks the most.
Drought has one of the largest impacts on fireworks for multiple reasons. First being, the dry vegetation make it easy for sparks from fireworks to cause wildfires. In more intense droughts, water can be hard to come by if/when a wildfire is ignited making it harder for it to be extinguished. When droughts are in place, most large firework shows still occur but they are launched over bodies of water to prevent wildfires.
Central Texas is drought free heading into this 4th of July, but you still want to make sure you are very careful when lighting fireworks and are adhering to local law when choosing your location to light them off.
Wind has good and bad effect on fireworks. Too much wind can blow fireworks off their path and run the risk of hitting structures and trees. Too little wind and the smoke from the fireworks can become stagnant and make it difficult to see the true vividness of the the show.
The ideal wind speed is around 5 to 10 mph, which is light enough to not blow fireworks off their path, but strong enough to keep smoke moving afterwards.
One might think that rain would cancel a firework show, but worry not. Fireworks can be set off in the rain, as long as they are in sealed containers that limit the amount of water that touches them. Wet fuses will not light.
While people may not like to sit in the rain and watch a firework show, the rain is typically not an issue for fireworks themselves. Only an intense downpour would likely cancel or delay a show.
When it comes to temperatures at night, you might think it cools off the higher you go in the atmosphere. But this isn’t always the case. A temperature inversion occurs when a layer of warm air is sandwiched between cooler air right at the surface and colder air near the top of the troposphere.
These temperature inversions can keep smoke from filtering out and trap it at the surface. This can make it tough to see the rest of a firework show.
The final and most dangerous weather impact is lightning.
Unlit fireworks can be lit by stray lightning strikes and ignite on the ground– a big concern for people standing or sitting nearby.
Always remember: When thunder roars, head indoors.