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Photo by Janet Morgan/janet.morgan@myhorrynews.com

A warm, sunny long holiday weekend with very little rain is in store for the Grand Strand as residents and tourists alike come together to celebrate the Fourth of July.

The news of better weather comes after the National Weather Service in Wilmington, North Carolina, had reported earlier this week that a cold front coming from the mountains of Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia would linger over the Grand Strand, dampening any Fourth of July plans.

“The cold front that is approaching our area has sped up,” said Victoria Oliva, forecaster at NWS in Wilmington.

Oliva said rain chances will be more geared to Friday and Friday night and that the rain will clear out quickly Saturday morning ahead of Fourth of July festivities Sunday.

“We were expecting this front to last until [Saturday] and even until Sunday morning,” Oliva said. “It’s going to push offshore quickly and then it’s going to be sunny and dry for the weekend.”

Currently, the NWS has forecasted showers and thunderstorms happening mainly after 2 p.m. Friday and some storms could produce frequent lightning and heavy rain. NWS predicts an 80% chance of rain Friday with winds reaching between 11 and 13 mph and some gusts getting as high as 18 mph. Storms will linger until about 3 a.m. but by the time Saturday morning rolls around, it will be partly sunny. As the day goes on Saturday, it will gradually become sunny, with temperatures expected to be near 83.

On Friday morning, Tropical Storm Elsa became the first official hurricane of the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane season. According to the NWS, it is too early to tell if the recently formed hurricane will have any impacts on the Myrtle Beach area.

“It’s going to be in touch with a lot of land in the Caribbean over the next two, three days,” Oliva said. “We will know more once it [goes over the Caribbean] and once the Hurricane Hunters investigate the storm.”

Oliva said that as of Friday morning, the official track for Elsa brings the storm near Florida on either Monday or Tuesday.

“After that, it’s still very uncertain,” Oliva said.

The biggest risks for the holiday weekend will be at the beaches with increased risk of rip currents, Olivia said.

With many businesses giving employees Monday off, the weather looks to cooperate on all fronts for the three-day weekend. The winds are not expected to be as high throughout the rest of the weekend compared to Friday’s forecast, lessening the chance for any grill fires to get out of hand.

The temperatures are supposed to be mid-80s throughout the weekend, with the lows reaching as low as 70 but as high as 75.

Rain is expected to return Tuesday but Oliva said to not rule out the possibility of scattered storms popping up Monday.

“Since it is summertime, as the high pressure weakens Monday, you can’t rule out a storm,” Oliva said. “It would be pretty widely scattered. It wouldn’t be a rainy. So, right now dry but over the next couple days I wouldn’t be surprised if we might see some isolated thunderstorms [in Myrtle Beach] Monday.”

Reach Ian Livingston Brooking at 843-248-6882 for any story ideas or news happening in your area.

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