4th of July Fun: How weather impacts fireworks

Posted at 9:33 AM, Jul 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-02 15:32:15-04

WEST MICHIGAN – Have you ever wondered how the weather impacts fireworks? Wind, temperature, rain and many other weather elements can affect the way you enjoy a firework show.

Let’s start with rain and storm chances…fireworks can still be displayed in the rain since they are protected in water proof containers until lift-off. Many towns will still host fireworks in the rain if folks are willing to sit out in the rain. When it comes to lightning or severe weather, fireworks introduce a safety risk since viewing must be done outside. As the saying goes “when thunder roars go indoors”, viewers need to stay safe and head inside.

Fireworks can increase the fire danger risk with dry conditions around an area. Humidity controls how strong colors can appear from fireworks. The more humid it is the less vibrant colors will appear and vice versa the less humid it is the more vibrant colors will appear.

High wind can cause a fire hazard and wind direction can determine which way the wind is blows smoke around. Fireworks and the weather are a balancing act to get the perfect mix for a spectacular show. Wind is needed to blow the smoke away from crowds watching a firework show, but if the wind is blowing the wrong direction it can push smoke towards the viewers.  Low clouds and fog can cause viewers to lose visibility of fireworks and even can affect the sound.

Finally, temperatures can impact fireworks with what is called a temperature inversion. Temperature inversions typically happen at night when warm air sits on top of cooler air. The thin layer where this change in temperature occurs is the inversion causing a “lid” on the cooler air at the surface. This temperature “lid” can cause an obstruction to viewers.

Whether there is sunshine or rain stay safe this holiday weekend and enjoy some fireworks!