This year, July 4 may not be a traditional Independence Day holiday for many areas of the country due to weather conditions that have affected the way we celebrate. A large chunk of the country is experiencing historic drought levels, and that will change more than you may think about the summer holiday.
Let's start with Texas, where the bans on fireworks are being issued by the bunches as Independence Day draws closer. It makes perfect sense that a state with so much damage due to wildfires that have torched thousands of acres in 2011 isn't going to be lenient when it comes to shooting off fireworks anytime soon. Nearly the entire state is still gripped by an exceptional drought, so until they receive a fair amount of rain, it's a good idea to hold off on setting things on fire.
"Long-term, exceptional drought conditions throughout the southern Plains (especially Texas) combined with persistent triple-digit heat and very low humidity levels have all led to a textbook recipe for thriving wildfire conditions," Weather Channel meteorologist Tim Ballisty said.
The bans extend all the way into Florida, as Palm Beach County in the southeastern part of the state will attempt to keep those without permits from blasting off fireworks in an area with a high fire risk. Public shows should still be able to proceed in that area, although the final decision has not been made and it isn't a 100 percent certainty.
As for the warm weather mentioned by Ballisty, this time of year is never pretty for the southern Plains, but this year has the potential to be worse than past years on July 4. In a wide swath of that area and even into the Southeast, the blazing heat may be too much to stay outside all day. Staying hydrated and finding shade will be key this Independence Day.
And if you want to go in the opposite direction of tradition, you will have that option this year. With even more snow in the forecast this week for the higher elevations of the West, several ski resorts plan to be open on July 4 for — wait for it — summer skiing. Did you think you'd be done until the winter on the slopes? You can still get one more day on the slopes before summer really sets in!
Snowbird (Utah), Arapahoe Basin (Colorado) and Mount Bachelor (Oregon) have all said that they intend to remain open for July 4. But if you're looking for several options in one state, California should be your destination.
Mammoth Mountain will be open on the holiday for skiing, but there is one location that may be the capital of July 4 skiing when this year's holiday comes to an end — Lake Tahoe.
Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl and Alpine Meadows will all be open for the entire weekend to celebrate the holiday, and this is a welcome sight to the owners of the resort, who say their numbers are actually down this season because for an extended period of time, conditions were so bad that skiiers couldn't actually get to the resorts because the snow was so heavy and treacherous.
Whatever your plans for the July 4 weekend, we hope the weather isn't too much of a nuisance for your weekend!