Sunshine and 80s ... or clouds, showers and 60s? Here's Whatcom's Fourth of July fate

Watch highlights from Bellingham’s fireworks show

Watch highlights from Bellingham's fireworks show on Tuesday, July 4, as seen from the top of the Herald Building in downtown Bellingham, Washington.
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Watch highlights from Bellingham's fireworks show on Tuesday, July 4, as seen from the top of the Herald Building in downtown Bellingham, Washington.

Many of us like to grouse about how summer doesn't actually arrive in the Pacific Northwest until July 5. For those of you counting, that's usually one day after we've choked down hot dogs on soggy buns along with some less-than-crispy potato chips and shivered through a damp and chilly fireworks display, barely hearing the explosions in the sky over the sound of our chattering teeth.

But for the pessimists at the National Weather Service, "We like to say summer weather doesn't get here until July 12," NWS science and operations officer Kirby Cook said.

Sure, they might be basing that on historical data and scientific knowledge, but not this year — Cook's and his colleagues' outlook is exceptionally sunny and warm. In fact, leave the red, white and blue ponchos at home along with the waterproof matches and the extra layer of clothing — you won't need them Wednesday. But definitely bring the sun block and shades.

The National Weather Service is predicting highs in the low 80s in Bellingham for Independence Day, possibly even reaching the mid 80s as you get away from the water, Cook said. Winds will be gentle and out of the northeast, bringing warmer air from the east side of the Cascades, as temperatures should still be in the mid to lower 60s around 10:30 p.m., when organized fireworks shows are scheduled to begin.

And will it rain on Blaine's Old Fashioned Fourth of July Parade? This year — not likely.

"It should be a beautiful day," Cook said. "Fireworks are really the only issue, because it is so dry out there."

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Bellingham has received 16.84 inches of precipitation this year, Cook said, which is only 1.2 inches below normal and 0.10 inches ahead of where we were at this point in 2017.

The area was actually a little wetter than normal at the end of May, but a particularly dry June with just less than an inch of rain changed that.

Wednesday should be the nicest day of the week, Cook said, with temperatures returning to the mid 70s on Thursday and lower 70s Friday as a weak system moves in and will give us a chance of clouds, showers and cooler temperatures over the weekend.

Last year, the high temperature at Bellingham International Airport on July 4 topped out at 74 — four degrees above average and much better than the 66-degree high temperature in 2016, when we received 0.17 inches of rain.

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