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Preparing for the Fourth: Possible tropical weather for Carolinas coast

NOAA
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The red area in this NOAA map shows high storm potential in the next 48 hours.

Carolinas residents making Independence Day holiday plans will have an extra consideration this year – a possible tropical weather system.

Low pressure, which was off the northeast Florida coast Monday, is predicted to become a tropical depression by Wednesday and then move up the coast, possibly affecting the Carolinas shoreline on July 4.

Talk of tropical weather hasn’t affected travel plans yet, Kimberly Miles of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce said Monday. “It’s life as normal so far, and we’re looking forward to one of our busiest summer weekends of the year,” she said.

Coastal Carolina University estimates up to 300,000 visitors flock to the Grand Strand and nearby North Carolina beaches on the Independence Day weekend.

Holiday weather in the Piedmont and mountains is expected to be excellent, and National Hurricane Center meteorologists are advising beachgoers to keep an eye on the forecast over the next few days.

Roads, airport

Highway construction projects in the Carolinas will be suspended over the holiday weekend.

The AAA auto club has not issued its holiday travel forecast yet, but nearly 1.5 million Carolinas residents traveled 50 or more miles last July 4 weekend. Gas prices are up this year – $3.56 a gallon in North Carolina, or 13 cents more than last July 4; and $3.39 in South Carolina, up 17 cents over a year ago.

Charlotte Douglas International Airport officials advise air travelers to get a ride or take Charlotte Area Transit System Sprinter, because lots are expected to be nearly full. You can check real-time parking conditions at http://bit.ly/1mesbIQ.

Fireworks

Don’t expect to see Charlotte’s uptown fireworks from your normal vantage point. The display this year is moved to BB&T Ballpark and probably won’t be visible from the Plaza Midwood and Elizabeth neighborhoods.

You can find a full list of the week’s fireworks, festivals and parades at http://bit.ly/1pEZdUU.

But if you’d rather celebrate America’s birthday from the comfort of your own home, NBC will broadcast fireworks from New York City and PBS will air “A Capital Fourth” with Washington’s fireworks live Friday evening.

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