It’s probably pretty safe to say that nobody wants rain during a fireworks celebration. Who wants to walk through mud and be pelted by raindrops? Rain is more of an inconvenience than a problem for most fireworks. Unless it’s a real deluge, the fireworks will still ignite. Lightning is another story- that’s not just inconvenient, it’s dangerous to anybody outside. Here are just some of the ways that weather impacts what you see, hear and feel during fireworks.
Outside of lightning, the most dangerous situation for fireworks spectators is when wind is blowing from the fireworks toward the crowd. This carries debris and possible embers toward people. If nothing else, it adds particles to the air which may have a negative impact on people with asthma or other breathing issues.
People who are downwind of fireworks will hear them louder than people who are upwind of them. Sound travels farther with wind.
If the weather is foggy or clouds are very low to the ground, you won’t see the details of the fireworks explosions. Sparkling points of light will be diffused into sheets, within the clouds.
If clouds are low, but above the fireworks, more light from the fireworks will be reflected down to the ground by the clouds so they will seem brighter.
If the air is very humid, the fireworks won’t be as bright and crisp to your eye, especially if you are miles away.
Fireworks in an area where weather and environmental conditions have been dry for a long time create the risk of brushfires or wildfires.
If the atmosphere is very stable and calm, smoke and particles from fireworks can linger for a long time, to diminish air quality. A study from NOAA shows there is a decrease in air quality around the US after July 4th fireworks. The lingering smoke particles may also make it easier for haze, fog, and clouds to form.
Weather in much of the United States is free of rain on an average July 4th evening. This map from NOAA shows you the statistics but know that past statistics don’t forecast a particular day!
Regardless of the weather, be safe with and around fireworks. Here are some of the most common injuries from fireworks.