The Fourth may not end with a bang for many Long Islanders trying to make their beach, barbecue and fireworks plans in the face of thunderstorms and showers from the fringe of a hurricane.
"If they're staying local, most people will wait till the last minute to decide," said Bruce Marotta, 67, of Huntington, who took advantage of Thursday's sunnier weather by kayaking with friends off Cold Spring Harbor.
Heavy rain and on-off showers that will hit the area in the morning, thanks to a storm system from the west and Hurricane Arthur's tendrils, will keep eastern Suffolk a little wet as fireworks time approaches, said meteorologist Joey Picca at the National Weather Service in Upton.
"The umbrellas just might be a good idea," he said.
For much of the Island and New York City, an eastward-moving cold front and the hurricane's effect will be history by the time the sun goes down Friday, Picca said. Evening showers will be more likely the farther east one goes and they will linger over the East End as fireworks time approaches, he said.
Temperatures will cool down to the upper 70s, Picca said.
The forecast prompted Montauk to postpone its "Stars Over Montauk" fireworks at Umbrella Beach to 9 p.m. Saturday. The Village of East Hills had decided early on to do the same for its fireworks.
But Macy's said its annual show has never been canceled and if there is lightning Friday night, organizers will wait for the bad weather to move on.
Like others, Marotta's own plans were in limbo. His depended not just on the weather but on whether his family and friends would go ahead with their celebrations. If everything worked out, he'd dine at a family barbecue, then head out to Setauket with friends to watch fireworks from his kayak.
While some said they were going to stick to celebrations, rain or shine, many were glum over the hit-and-miss forecast.
Rachel Kramer, 21, of Commack, said the prediction of rain was "really upsetting."
She was at the Huntington train station, on her way to New York City to pick up friends coming down from Buffalo and Rochester for the Independence Day weekend.
"A couple of them have never been to the beach before and I'm like, well, I can't promise how it's going to go," Kramer said with a laugh.
Businesses that usually do well during the Independence Day weekend, such as water sports charters, fretted over the canceled reservations brought on by the weather.
Forty reservations were canceled at Step In Liquid Stand Up Paddle Boarding Long Island, which rents out paddle boards and teaches people how to use them in Cold Spring Harbor, said the owner, Will Albert.
"Every Fourth we get so many people out" on the water, he said. "But this Fourth is just going to be a bust for us."