The sky show will go on, rain or moonglow -- that's the message from Fire Island's Go 4th on the Bay Committee about its fireworks, set for an Independence night launch off the Great South Bay.
"Rain does not stop fireworks," said Philip Butler, who's producing the show. "The Fourth of July is the Fourth of July. You can't reschedule the Fourth."
After a cooler- and drier-than-normal June, with plenty of sunshine but mostly comfortable temperatures, Long Islanders from Montauk to Massapequa are waiting anxiously to see if they will celebrate the nation's birthday with an umbrella or a bang.
"It's going to be a close call," said meteorologist Joey Picca at the National Weather Service bureau in Upton Wednesday.
Heavy rain could fall tomorrow morning but the likelihood of showers will diminish as the day goes on and for holiday travelers moving west, he said. By the time the skies darken, lingering showers could dampen eastern Long Island, he said.
The bulk of rain will stem from an east-moving cold front arriving Thursday, said David Stark, another meteorologist at Upton. This front will pick up moisture from Tropical Storm Arthur, the first of the hurricane season, leading to heavy rain late Thursday night and into Friday and nippy breezes for fireworks watchers by land and by boat, meteorologists said.
The chance of precipitation through Friday night ranges from 40 to 70 percent, and rainfall could average 1 to 2 inches, the service said.
In the event that Arthur brings a July Fourth lightning show to compete with the Macy's fireworks display above the East River, store officials said they will work closely with city officials to wait out the bad weather.
"The show has never been canceled and will go forth even if there is a delay in the start time," said Macy's spokesman Orlando Veras.
The talk of lightning and cold fronts was dreary enough for the Village of East Hills to reschedule its 9:15 p.m. fireworks show tomorrow night until Saturday.
"We have fields and we don't want the fields dug up," said village attorney William Burton.
Other municipalities said they will make the call on fireworks some time Thursday to as late as 6 p.m. Friday.
Martin Sendlewski vice president of the Riverhead Business Improvement District was confident stormy conditions would let up in time for the Fourth. If the celebration, including live music, is called off at Riverhead's Peconic Riverfront Park, it won't be rescheduled, he said.
"I've been watching the weather," he said. "I think we're going to be OK."
With Patricia Kitchen
and Gary Dymski