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Storms may disrupt July Fourth celebrations in central, eastern US

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Thunderstorms may disrupt July Fourth activities in parts of the central and eastern United States.

While daily afternoon thunderstorms are not uncommon for early July, storms may pack a punch in parts of the Plains, Midwestern, Southeastern and mid-Atlantic states during the afternoon and evening on Independence Day.

Exactly which individual communities stand the best chance of getting hit hard by a big storm cannot be determined with reasonable certainty this far in advance.

However, the area of greatest concern for thunderstorms and locally severe weather conditions will likely stretch from Kansas and Oklahoma eastward to the Carolinas and Virginia on July 4, according to AccuWeather Storm Warning Meteorologist Alex Avalos.

"Some of the storms moving eastward along this swath are most likely to pack strong wind gusts, which can down trees, and heavy rainfall capable of causing localized flash flooding," Avalos said.

The thunderstorms in this swath could disrupt outdoor picnics and 5k runs and delay fireworks.

Most, but not all, of the storms will occur during the late afternoon and early evening hours when fireworks and celebrations will be at their peak.

The storms are forecast to erupt along a west to east temperature and humidity boundary with cool, dry air to the north and hot, humid air to the south. Meanwhile, high above the ground, a fast river of air, known as the jet stream, will be nearby and could add the extra ingredients to produce severe weather.

Rather than a complete washout, the storms will likely take up only an hour or two of the day, with a few exceptions.

People spending time outdoors are encouraged to keep an eye on the sky and periodically check AccuWeather MinuteCast® and look for severe weather bulletins through the holiday weekend. At the first rumble of thunder, get off the lake or beach and move indoors to eliminate the chance of being struck by lightning.