Metro weather looks promising as sales boom at fireworks store
Todd Douglas had his SUV stuffed with fireworks Thursday morning before he even thought about the weather.
Two huge cartons housing something called the Max Assortment at Phantom Fireworks in Livonia: "No fountains, no toys, all aerial fireworks!" A shopping cart full of add-ons. A $1,690 tab, plus $2,369 in what's essentially an improvement on buy one, get one free — two $1,499 Maxes in the Jeep Compass, baby!
"All for the kids in the community," said Douglas, a 28-year-old real estate agent from Detroit. Ground zero would be the Erma Henderson Marina on East Jefferson, and uh-oh ... what if it rains?
"Thirty to 40 percent chance," he said, checking his phone. "I'm not worried. Sixty percent, maybe, but what do these smartphones know? Or meteorologists?"
Actually, for those planning to light projectiles for the 4th of July, the meteorologists know this: You should be okay.
High temperatures will be around 89 in the suburbs and 91 in Detroit Thursday, said Kyle Klein at the National Weather Service station in White Lake Township. And as for what really matters – precipitation, sworn enemy of fireworks shows – the likelihood will be falling as darkness draws close.
Figure 40-50% through late afternoon and as late as 8 p.m., Klein said, "kind of like what we’ve been seeing with small cells popping up and dying out."
But from 9 p.m. onward, the chances drop to 10% or 20%, and probably on the low end of that range.
Shoppers at the bustling year-round store on Plymouth Road were in more danger from spouses than sprinkles.
Two men in aisle No. 2, site of Roman candles and firecrackers, were saying their wives did not know they had returned for more pyrotechnics.
A few aisles over, loading a pair of nine-shot, $199 Emerald City Premiers into his cart, Alex Bankowski of Farmington was saying his wife knew and wasn't thrilled.
"She hates it," said Bankowski, 34. It's a holiday tradition at his brother-in-law's place on White Lake, though, so she endures.
Weather-wise, he said, "we'll probably blow them off unless it's pouring." Plan B would be Friday night, and as for Plan C?
"I'll just hide them."
Friday night will be kosher for ka-booming under Michigan's new fireworks restrictions.
An amendment passed in December allows local governments to limit days and times for private fireworks displays. The tightest controls around Independence Day would be June 29 to July 4 until 11:45 p.m., along with July 5 if it's a Friday or Saturday.
Friday night looks a bit less conducive to fireworks, Klein said.
Weather Service models show highs identical to Thursday, but a greater chance of precipitation – around 50% from 2 p.m. onward, with a 30-40% probability from 8 p.m. to midnight.
The weekend will be cooler, he said, with highs Saturday in the mid-80s and Sunday a few degrees lower. While the chance of storms Saturday will range from 20 percent across the Thumb and Saginaw to 60 percent in Detroit, Sunday should be dry.
Klein's July 4 plans called for minimal noise: “Fishing a bit with one of my buddies, and then going to a barbecue. Any precipitation should be in and out fairly quickly."
At the fireworks store, security guard Jay Jackson of Livonia was also thinking placid thoughts. After a hectic week of overseeing the entrance with a pistol on his hip, he said, "When I leave here, I'm just going home."
He'd had enough of fireworks before anyone lit the first fuse.