Breakdown: Why weather can impact fireworks

Published: Jul. 3, 2021 at 7:23 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) -It’s that time of year, 4th of July, where many experience firework displays. Weather can have impacts on fireworks, from how vibrant the colors are to how long the smoke lingers after the fireworks.

Lets start with humidity. If there is too much humidity the colors are not as bright and less humidity willl mean brighter colors.

Wind can be a big deal and have a huge impact on fireworks displays. The wind will determine where the smoke from the fireworks travel and can transport hot particles from fireworks. Ideally, you want the wind to carry the smoke away from viewers.

If the winds are completely calm, well thats not the best because smoke can get trapped and smoke can linger.

The lingering smoke is due to a phenomenon that is common on summer nights and is called a temperature inversion.

On a normal summer day, the sun heats up the surface and that hot air rises into the “less hot” air higher in the atmosphere. The wind is stronger during the day and helps mix the air throughout the atmosphere, keeping any smoke or particles from being concentrated in one area.

However on a summer night, the warmer air from the day time lifts higher into the atmosphere and the “less hot” or slightly cooler air gets trapped at or near the surface. That means anything in that pool of air is also trapped within the first couple of thousand feet from the surface which can be smoke from fireworks, or any other particles in the atmosphere. The smoke can linger until the next day when it usually mixes out or spreads back into the upper levels of the atmosphere.

If you have any asthma or respiratory issues, you may want to limit your outdoor activities especially during fireworks shows.

It’s nice to have dry weather for displays but too dry and that could increase the fire danger threat.

Fireworks can still go off in rainy weather, however, lightning and thunder can become a safety issue.

Foggy conditions can impact the sound of the fireworks and can impact visibility especially if it is too thick.

Weather can play a big part in firework shows but heres to hoping that the weather will cooperate and that everyone has a Happy 4th of July!

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