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Martin's weather blog

Martin Stew. Photo: London Tonight

So New Year’s Eve is here and that means fireworks. I’ve always loved the idea of watching fireworks displays but tend to get a bit bored after five minutes. For me the real fun has always been holding your own display - whilst obviously being safe.

It got me wondering what the best weather conditions are and whether tonight will be perfect for fabulous fireworks or a damp squib.

According tothe website there are four key weather factors – so here they are, followed by what it will be like tonight:

Wind: You’re looking for the happy medium. Too much wind (20-30 mph range) is dangerous - remember you’re lighting something on fire that can travel! But having no wind isn’t best either.

Without the wind clearing the smoke, your view will begin to cloud up rather quickly.

Plus you can’t forget about direction. You want winds blowing in the opposite direction of your spectators!

I remember as a kid watching a fireworks display in Pennsylvania where the winds changed mid-show blowing hot particles towards the spectators instead of away.

Let’s just say that it caused more than one person to scramble out of the way.

Humidity: This apparently plays a big role in how we perceive a show. Conditions that are quite humid are not the best for going to see fireworks.

A saturated atmosphere tends to cut back on the colours we see when the firework goes off.

The less muggy it is, the more vivid the colours become when the firework explodes.


Rain: Though from the spectator point of view rain makes or breaks a show, from the technical standpoint rain can’t extinguish or stop a firework.

Sparklers burn at the temperature of nearly 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit so keeping them away from your skin is more important than dodging a rain drop.

Prevailing Conditions: The reason so many firework celebrations have been cancelled around the world is the risk of fire! Dry, ready-to-burn wooded areas are a bad combination when mixed with fireworks for all the obvious reasons.



We’ve seen gusts over 40mph today but by the time we get to midnight the wind should have dropped to around 10mph. Plenty to blow the smoke away but hopefully not too much to blow the rockets off course.

The rain we’re seeing today is the effect of an approaching cold front. By midnight we will be into that colder drier air which has come down from the North West. As a result the air will be less humid and should make for some bright coloured displays.

Well for those of us watching the good news is the rain will have cleared the Kent coastline by 9pm.

There’s just the chance of a few light showers in the north of the patch. It is going to be getting chillier though.

As we move into cooler air from the north temperatures will drop overnight to around three or four degrees.

It goes without saying this is not a problem – after all the heavy rain ground is at saturation point. The only challenge might be getting stuck in the mud after standing outside to watch.

I hope you all have a fantastic (and safe) New Year’s Eve.

I’ll see you in 2013