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A warm Fourth of July is in store for most of the country, but some areas could get soaked

By Hannah Gard and Monica Garrett, CNN

The Fourth of July holiday weekend is quickly approaching, and weather conditions across the US will contrast starkly from coast to coast for the celebration.

Dry and hot conditions will prevail in the West this weekend, although not as hot as the deadly heat they’ve been facing. Meanwhile, rainy and muggy conditions will linger in the South and along the East Coast, putting a damper on daytime barbecues.

In the West, heat is here to stay

The ridge of high pressure that shattered records in the Pacific Northwest this week moves farther east before expanding to cover most of the West by Sunday, bringing with it more hot temperatures to kick off July.

Highs won’t compare to the record-breaking heat wave, although they will remain above average, landing in the 90s for most of the West by the beginning of the weekend.

“The historic heat wave over the Pacific Northwest will be less intense than it has been over recent days but triple-digit heat is still likely each afternoon across some interior areas through the holiday weekend and into early next week,” said the Weather Prediction Center.

The prolonged nature of the heat wave has led to excessive heat warnings being extended through the holiday weekend for much of eastern Washington, Idaho and Montana.

“This event will likely be one of the most extreme and prolonged heat waves in the recorded history of the Inland Northwest. Unprecedented heat will not only threaten the health of residents in the Inland Northwest but will make our region increasingly vulnerable to wildfires and intensify the impacts of our ongoing drought,” the NWS office in Spokane, Washington.

Rainfall will provide little relief from the heat, and a very dry pattern is expected to continue.

“With no rain in the (extended) forecast, fire weather concerns will remain elevated,” according to the National Weather Center in Seattle.

Temperatures remain above average for the Northwest, but the near-record temperatures will shift toward Montana, where forecasts show highs in the triple digits in the eastern part of the state.

Highs are expected to near records in eastern Montana and last through the beginning of next week.

The hottest day is expected Saturday before a cold front might push its way south into the area, relieving some of the heat in the region. Smoke from increasing wildfire activity could also limit the high temperatures during peak heating.

Thunderstorms and rainfall might put a damper on outdoor activity in southeastern Idaho, western Montana and northern Wyoming on Sunday as a cold front moves down from Canada but provide much-needed relief from the heat. Temperatures in the region will be a bit cooler in the 80s and 70s.

Triple-digit temperatures are expected in Arizona, southeastern California and Nevada but dry weather will allow for the perfect lake weekend to celebrate. High temperatures could still be slightly above average into the weekend, so heat safety will still be important for those enjoying outdoor holiday events.

The rain threat increases farther east toward southeastern Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado stretching up the Rockies, where showers and thunderstorms could threaten outdoor plans. The chance of rain is a good thing for those areas, much of which are experiencing exceptional drought conditions.

“There is a little trend in the guidance toward a little warmer and drier, but in any event, there will still be at least average convective (storm) coverage Saturday and Sunday afternoons with slow storm motions and a low flood threat for the burn areas,” according to NWS Denver.

Rainy weekend for the East

Rainfall is expected across the Deep South and up the East Coast through the end of the week, picking up during the holiday weekend. Thunderstorm activity will be likely from Texas to Florida.

“Plenty of moisture, slow-growing storms, slow-moving storms, and persistent low-level convergence all point to heavy rainfall potential this weekend,” NWS Houston stated.

Up to an inch and a half of rainfall is in store for coastal cities, including Houston and New Orleans, all the way eastward toward Florida Panhandle.

“Overall, showers and thunderstorms can be expected through the weekend, with Saturday being the wettest day,” NWS Mobile said in their forecast discussion.

Much cooler temperatures are expected for the eastern US, with most areas expecting temperatures in the 80s, although a bit cooler up the Appalachians, where temperatures will be moderate in the 70s.

After the searing heat at the beginning of the week, the cooler seasonable temperatures will be a relief for the Northeast coast. Showers will persist at the start of the weekend for New England, before letting up slightly on Sunday just in time for the Fourth of July. Significant rain totals are not expected.

Conditions in the Midwest will be fairly quiet after a drenching week. A high-pressure system moves over the region behind the cold front that will keep moisture in the area through Friday, working to keep the area dry with little to worry about in terms of rain putting a damper on festivities in areas like Chicago.

From the Central Plains to the Midwest, temperatures will sit in the low 90s to 80s.

The NWS in Chicago says things are looking up just in time. “After a wet stretch of weather, the upcoming holiday weekend looks splendid with low humidity levels, summer-like temperatures, plenty of sun, and no chances for precipitation.”

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