As the United States prepares to celebrate its 244th birthday, this year's time-honored festivities, like barbecues, lawn games and fireworks, may look and feel a little different than usual for many.

Amid a pandemic and social distancing concerns, smaller groups and fewer parties may mean more eyes from home will be looking toward the skies -- or the flatscreen TVs -- to see the annual firework displays. However, not every area of the country will enjoy an equally great view of the spectacular pyrotechnics shows.

In New York City, the Independence Day celebration has been turned into a week-long affair with fireworks starting to light up the sky on Monday night and running through July Fourth on Saturday. In South Dakota, current plans include a firework display over Mt. Rushmore for the first time since 2009, and President Donald Trump plans to be in attendance.

Annual shows in some major cities, like Washington D.C., are still on, but the weather in other cities, such as Denver and Sante Fe, New Mexico, has forced planned events to be canceled.

Meanwhile, the coronavirus pandemic has forced many other cities to shutter celebrations as well.

For those cities still putting on events, read on to see how the weather and conditions may affect the celebration.

New York City and Northeast


In this Friday, June 19, 2020 photo, fireworks explode during Juneteenth celebrations above the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in the Brooklyn borough of New York. The Manhattan skyline is seen in the background. They light up the sky in celebration, best known in the U.S. as a way to highlight Independence Day. This year, fireworks aren't being saved for special events. They've become a nightly nuisance from Connecticut to California, angering sleep-deprived citizens and alarming local officials.

Some places in the Northeast, like Boston, have canceled annual shows weeks ago because of the pandemic, but New York City went in the opposite direction and ramped up its celebrations to make this year's Fourth of July a weeklong event that aims to discourage people from congregating on one specific night.

For the millions watching in person and on television, however, the start of the week's weather may not be cooperative.

“The next few nights there are going to be showers and thunderstorms," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dean Devore said. "But while the shower and thunderstorm chances have a pretty high percentage of happening in the next couple of afternoon and evenings, it looks like those chances kind of go away a little bit by the end of the week as the atmosphere stabilizes a bit."

Devore added that "some models think it could be pretty nice this holiday weekend," referring to computer weather models meteorologists look at when formulating a forecast, but that "there are other models that there may be some chances of thunderstorms popping up in the afternoons and evenings. We'll have to wait to see how it plays out."

According to Devore, weather conditions along the East Coast will remain problematic and spotty through the beginning portions of the holiday week due to a slow-moving system.

Farther north and inland, Devore said more stormy concerns could arrive from a system moving through the Great Lakes.

"There's a system that will come through the Great Lakes and bring just general thunderstorm and shower chances into the weekend," Devore said. "The concern is towards the weekend: Is enough of the system going to stamp itself out towards the Eastern Seaboard? We could get, in addition to daily thunderstorm chances, an enhancement of even more than that."

Keep an eye on the forecast

Throughout the nation and particularly in the East, Devore said residents should keep an updated eye on the forecasts as holiday plans may need to be shifted around with Mother Nature's plans. 

"As your weekend plans evolve including fireworks or a trip to the beach, this will be one of those patterns where you'll need to continue checking in because the amount and frequency of thunderstorms can change by day and even times of the day," Devore said. "There may be some days where it'll be really nice in the morning and then get not so nice by the afternoon, or vice versa."