Threat of rain looms over July 4th celebrations

A warm, moist air mass will settle in across central and eastern North Carolina for the Fourth of July, helping produce showers and storms that could washout celebratory cookouts and fireworks celebrations around the area.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The threat of rain Monday evening means that celebratory cookouts and fireworks celebrations around the area could be washed out.

Severe thunderstorm warnings were issued Monday afternoon for Harnett, Hoke, Cumberland, Sampson and Moore counties.

Wake County steered clear of the threat until shortly after 6 p.m., when a thunderstorm warning was issued, but quickly expired.

WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze says the cloud cover seen in the Triangle today helped keep the storms at bay this afternoon and evening. Despite the threat for thunderstorms, Monday morning's "elevated" risk for severe weather has turned into a "marginal risk" this evening, and that's good news for 4th of July parties.

"The bottom line is, locally here in the Triangle area, we have a lesser chance to see severe storms this evening," said Maze. "I don't think the storms will be widespread enough to affect everyone in the Triangle."

Other areas have been affected by the severe weather, though, including Fayetteville, which experienced potentially damaging wind gusts of 60 miles per hour.

Though the chance for severe weather in the Triangle has decreased, it still remains. Thunderstorms, heavy rain and wind are possible Monday evening, especially in southern counties.

Highs will hover in the mid-80s Monday evening before rising on Tuesday. On Tuesday, storm chances will be more to the north as high temperatures soar into the mid-90s.

"Heat index values will be up around 100 degrees during the mid-afternoon Tuesday, and we'll stay hot for the rest of the week," said WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner.

Highs Thursday through Sunday will be in the upper 90s, meaning heat index values could reach the low 100s. Rain chances will diminish later in the week.

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