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July 4th should be summery — but officials advise caution while enjoying it

Anthony Maenza
York Dispatch

Despite a turbulent weekend of thunderstorms in the forecast, the weather for July 4 is expected to be sunny and warm with a slight chance of showers.

Nonetheless, authorities are calling for celebrants to exercise caution while they're filling up grills and setting off fireworks on Monday.

Between 2006 and 2021, for example, injuries related fireworks climbed 25% in the U.S., according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Last year alone, the CPSC reported that at least nine people died, and an estimated 11,500 were injured in incidents involving fireworks.

“It’s imperative that consumers know the risks involved in using fireworks, so injuries and tragedies can be prevented. The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to watch the professional displays,” said CPSC Chair Alex Hoehn-Saric.

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Meanwhile, the American Red Cross is offering some tips so you can enjoy the holiday safely. 

As far as fireworks are concerned, the Red Cross recommends that you attend a public fireworks show put on by professionals and stay at least 500 feet from the show. 

If you are setting off fireworks at home, never give fireworks to small children and never throw or point fireworks a person or animal, structure or flammable materials. Always read the instructions on the packaging that accompanies the fireworks. 

Always keep water close by as a precaution and make sure the person lighting the devices wears eye protection. Always light one firework at a time and never relight a dud. Store those fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets. 

If you are going on a picnic for the holiday, the Red Cross recommends you wash hands before preparing a meal, don’t leave food in the hot sun and keep perishables on ice in a cooler. When using a grill, keep it out in the open, away from your home, deck, tree branches or anything that could catch fire. Never grill indoors. 

Always keep a watchful eye on your grill to keep it from flaring up, never add charcoal fluid after it is lit and use long-handled tools to keep from being burned by flames. Keep children and pets away from your grill. 

If you are planning to go to the beach during the Fourth of July weekend, the Red Cross recommends watching the weather and getting out of the water at the first sign of lightning or a rumble of thunder. 

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Swim at a beach where a lifeguard is on duty and stay within designated swim areas. Always obey lifeguard instructions and ask what the water conditions are like.   

The Red Cross also recommends designating a water watch to keep an eye on everyone with you going in and out of the water until the next water watcher takes over. 

Inexperience swimmers, children and all boaters should wear properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets. 

Never dive headfirst into the water, walk carefully into open waters and always be aware of aquatic life that may cause injuries to you. 

If you are caught in a rip current, stay calm and don’t fight it. Swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current. Then, turn and swim to shore. If you can't swim to shore, float or tread water until you are free of the rip current and then head toward shore. Draw attention to yourself by waving and calling for help.

The coming July 4 weekend could also bring some stormy conditions — and the risks that come along with it. Here's a look at the forecast over the next few days:

Thursday: Sunny, with a high near 89. Light and variable wind.

Thursday night: Mostly clear, with a low around 69. Light south wind.

Friday: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms after 2pm. Sunny and hot, with a high near 94. Calm wind becoming southwest 5 to 8 mph in the morning. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Friday night: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 72. South wind 5 to 7 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

Saturday: A chance of showers and thunderstorms, then showers and possibly a thunderstorm after 2 p.m. High near 88. West wind 5 to 7 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

Saturday night: Showers and possibly a thunderstorm before 8pm, then a chance of showers and thunderstorms between 8 p.m. and 2 a.m., then a slight chance of showers after 2 a.m. Low around 69. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

Sunday: A chance of showers after 8 a.m. Partly sunny, with a high near 85. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Sunday night: Mostly clear, with a low around 66.

Independence Day: A chance of showers after 2 p.m. Sunny, with a high near 87. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Monday night: A chance of showers before 2 a.m. Partly cloudy, with a low around 67. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

— Reach Anthony Maenza at or @atmaenza on Twitter. 

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