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Fox News Weather Center

Southwest Drought to Impact Memorial Day Festivities

Memorial Day weekend is commonly refereed to as the unofficial start of summer across the United States and is a time when many open up their pools, attend a barbecue and celebrate the upcoming season.

Although some showers and thunderstorms will move across the Plains and the East, a majority of the West expects dry weather for the late-May holiday.

However, this does not mean that the weather will not cause any interruptions elsewhere in the country.

Those across the West planning to spend the holiday outdoors shouldn't have to worry about rain or thunderstorms disrupting their plans.

The exception to this will be some afternoon thunderstorms that develop over the higher elevations. This could become problematic for people planning to go hiking in the mountains.

According to AAA, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Phoenix, are among the top travel destinations for Memorial Day weekend, with all three cities forecast to have a warm and dry holiday.

Phoenix will be the warmest of the three cities, topping out in the 90s on Monday, right around normal for late May. Las Vegas will not be far behind with temperatures reaching well into the 80s, possibly making a run at the 90-degree mark.

According to AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Mike Doll, "It will not be ideal beach weather [in Southern California] with highs in the 60s at the coast."

Doll continued by adding that afternoon highs in Los Angeles on Memorial Day will reach into the 70s.

While the dry conditions will bode well for many outdoor events, festivities and barbecues, the dry conditions do pose a danger.

The drought in the West is nothing new and has left the region starved of moisture.

"With the fourth consecutive very dry rainy season and the worst snowpack ever recorded in the Sierra this year in the books, harsh measures are now in place," said AccuWeather.com Western Weather Expert Ken Clark.

Top Memorial Day Travel Destinations

1. Orlando, FL

2. Las Vegas, NV

3. Myrtle Beach, SC

4. Fort Lauderdale, FL

5. Los Angeles, CA

6. Branson, MO

7. Miami, FL

8. Phoenix, AZ

9. Asheville, NC

10. Charleston, SC

This includes the historic move by California's Governor Jerry Brown back in April to implement the first ever water use restrictions in response to the drought.

Even though a few late-spring storms have delivered some rain to the West, people should not be drawn into a false sense of security. This rain has had virtually no effect on the drought.

Vegetation remains abnormally dry and has made the region more susceptible to wildfires.

Anyone who is planning to have a barbecue during the course of the weekend should do so carefully as it does not take much for a smoldering ash to start a brush fire.

People should also be extremely careful when using fireworks or avoid using them all together.

While Memorial Day fireworks may be a tradition for some, they can be one of the quickest ways of inadvertently sparking a fire.

A spark from a sparkler, fountain, or a firework exploding near the ground can quickly ignite dry grass and lead to a wildfire acres in size.

Some cities may even be forced to cancel their fireworks displays as a direct result of the dry conditions.

AccuWeather.com meteorologists don't believe that these dry conditions in the West will change anytime soon.

This means that Forth of July festivities are also likely to be influenced by the drought and associated wildfire danger.

This wildfire threat was highlighted in AccuWeather's 2015 Summer Outlook.

"It looks to me like they'll continue to get drier and drier, and by June and July, it'll have reflection on temperatures as well," said AccuWeather.com Long Range Expert Paul Pastelok.