The Fourth of July Will Be Celebrated a Day Early in Boston

Due to the chance of a nasty Tropical Storm dumping rain on the area, the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular on the Esplanade will take place on July 3.

Mother Nature has called the shots this Independence Day.

The annual July 4 celebrations on the Esplanade have been moved up a day due to the threat of Tropical Storm Arthur dropping heavy rains and bringing powerful winds to the Boston area this week. The storm is currently making its way up the coastline from Florida, and is predicted to become a category one hurricane.

Event organizers announced Wednesday that the fireworks celebration and Boston Pops Spectacular will take place on July 3 in Boston instead. “We think the best day is tomorrow. We have logistics teams working together to do a hybrid version of the plan for the rehearsal to get the show in tomorrow,” said Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Jack Murray.

If the weather changes radically or worsens, they will make the call Thursday afternoon about whether or not the event will be held at all. As it stands, both the Boston Pops concert and the fireworks are scheduled for tomorrow. The fireworks show could be moved to Saturday, however.

The area where spectators typically congregate—the Oval and Lagoon—and lay down blankets and chairs to take in the event, won’t be open until 5 p.m., according to State Police Colonel Tim Alben. The rest of the Esplanade will be open all day. Alben suggested that people don’t rush to the Esplanade to secure a viewing spot since it’s technically a work day. “Put it off, and come at your leisure during the afternoon,” he said, adding that police and first responders are prepared for the sudden change of plans.

Police are expecting a reduced crowd due to the last minute change. Typically the fireworks extravaganza attracts anywhere from 500,000 to 1 million attendees.

Alben said that traveling could get complicated on Thursday, now that the time of the July 4 fireworks display has been shifted. He said the Massachusetts Avenue bridge will close down at 6 p.m. to all traffic, along with Memorial Drive and the Longfellow Bridge. Storrow Drive will not be an option for workers trying to get home either, and will close at noon. This may cause problems for people leaving the city for vacation. “Storrow Drive going home tomorrow night is not going to be open for commuters,” he stressed.

Organizers said they have been carefully and closely monitoring the weather and talking with officials from the National Weather Service twice a day, to track the storm’s path. They said they will continue to monitor its progression over the next 48 hours, but given the timing they had to go with “the best information” that they had to make the decision about changing the time of the annual celebration.  “We think we have a good solid plan and we are keeping our fingers crossed. We will continue working with the National Weather Service…we will absolutely do the right thing in terms of safety for the public.”

If Thursday is met by bad weather, there is a chance that the Boston Pops concert won’t happen at all. “If the show is cancelled Thursday, we aren’t sure what we will do,” said Alben. “Let’s get through tomorrow.”