WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON: High cloudiness warm and humid with isolated thunderstorms east of Highway 17. Highs: 86 to 90 inland, 84 to 88 beaches. Southwest wind 10 to 20 mph.

WEDNESDAY NIGHT:  Partly cloudy warm and muggy. Lows: 72 to 76 inland, 78 to 80 beaches. Southwest wind 5 to 10 mph.

THURSDAY: Partly sunny warm and humid with scattered afternoon thunderstorms. Highs: 86 to 90 inland, 84 to 86 beaches. Southwest wind 5 to 15 mph.

Marine Forecast: The Rip Current threat is low for Virginia Beach, VA to Surf City, NC. Seas will be 3' to 5' at the Crystal Coast and the Outer Banks. Water temperatures are low 80s at the Crystal Coast and Outer Banks. The Rivers and Sounds are in the mid 80s and will have a moderate chop on Wednesday. Winds will be from the southwest at 15-20 knots at the Crystal Coast and the Outer Banks, with a Small Craft Advisory from Cape Lookout to the OBX until Friday. High tide is at 7:02am and low tide is at 1:13pm.

WEATHER SUMMARY: It’s typical summertime heat and humidity for the rest of the week.

Our weather pattern as we head into the Independence Day holiday weekend will be controlled by the jet stream. It has reconfigured itself from the way it was during our 3 week heat wave. The upper level ridge has now formed over the Pacific Northwest up into the Canadian Rockies. This is causing cooler air to be tapped near the North Pole and sent southward across the Great Lakes and into the Northeast U.S. As each of these pockets of cold air rotate through the upper level trough over the eastern U.S. they will tough off rounds of storms. The trick is trying to time their arrival into eastern North Carolina.

A couple minor pockets of cold air will rotate over us the next couple of days helping to touch off afternoon thunderstorms. Today they will be isolated and mainly east of Highway 17. These will be more of the typical summertime pop-up afternoon storms.

A stronger pocket of cold air will move through late Thursday night into Friday. This will be our biggest chance for rain for the week.

The key to our holiday weekend forecast will be how the system moves through Friday. If it comes through as one piece, then we’ll have less coverage of storms this weekend. But if it comes out in a couple pieces, then we’ll have more coverage of storms for the weekend. At this time it’s too hard to tell exactly how the weekend will unfold exactly.

At worst, I’d expect some scattered storms both days around in the late afternoon.

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Our normal high 89°, low 71°.

---Meteorologist LES STILL