July Fourth is forecast as the kickoff of a stretch of drier, increasingly warmer weather.

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Independence Day may trigger a stretch of one of our most fleeting summer freedoms: the freedom from crummy weather.

It’s a statistical oddity, dating back more than a century, that July 4 has been the month’s most frequently damp day in Seattle, with measurable precipitation recorded 33 times since 1894 — as if Mother Nature is trying to keep sparkler-caused fires to a minimum.

This year, after a showery Tuesday, the holiday is expected to be partly sunny, with a high of about 70 degrees at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, easing back to 60 or lower by fireworks time.

Western Washington’s recent weather, though disappointing to sun worshippers, has been incredibly benign compared with the heat wave and violent storms gripping much of the Eastern U.S., cutting power to millions of homes and businesses and killing 22 people.

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Seattle-area temperatures are expected to rise into summerlike territory through the weekend, with forecast highs of 78 on Saturday, 82 on Sunday and 84 on Monday.

The stretch of drier weather follows a June that provided little drama, but unusually high rainfall: 2.96 inches — nearly twice the month’s normal amount — as measured at Sea-Tac Airport.

If the Puget Sound area’s weather makes the predicted shift to the dry side, this could be “a bonus week,” said the National Weather Service’s Ted Buehner. Most years, he said, dependably warmer and drier days don’t kick in until about July 12.

Jack Broom: 206-464-2222 or jbroom@seattletimes.com

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