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Friday, July 4, 2014

Boston Pops hosts July 4 show just before rain   

BOSTON (AP) - With the season's first hurricane bearing down on New England, Independence Day came early to Boston. It hosted the annual Boston Pops Fourth of July outdoor concert and fireworks show a day earlier than planned.

The fireworks thundered and flashed over the Charles River Thursday night, just beating the expected rains from the approaching Hurricane Arthur. ...

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BOSTON (AP) - With the season's first hurricane bearing down on New England, Independence Day came early to Boston. It hosted the annual Boston Pops Fourth of July outdoor concert and fireworks show a day earlier than planned.

The fireworks thundered and flashed over the Charles River Thursday night, just beating the expected rains from the approaching Hurricane Arthur.

But organizers cut short the concert leading up to the fireworks display as forecasters warned of rapidly deteriorating weather.

State police ordered the thousands in attendance - including concert staff - to quickly clear the area after the final fireworks exploded in the night sky. Within minutes, there was heavy rain and lightning in the distance. Many people got soaked.

Earlier, Beach Boys founder Mike Love, Broadway star Megan Hilty and the Boston Children's Chorus stormed through lively performances and thousands of revelers sang loudly to patriotic songs on what had been an otherwise typical Boston summer night. It was warm but not humid, and there was a light breeze.

Boston resident Yohannes Kassaye, on a blanket with his family, took in the scene just as the concert was underway. The threat of a storm was the farthest thing from his mind, he said.

"It's a big moment in history, when you think about how countries come together," said Kassaye, who came to the U.S. three years ago from Ethiopia. "That's why we came out today. To celebrate that."

The concert and fireworks, which airs nationally and draws more than half a million visitors to Boston, is one of the city's signature events.

It was moved to Thursday when it became clear that the region would feel the brunt of the hurricane on Independence Day.

Meanwhile, in the summer retreats of Cape Cod and the islands south of Boston, where a tropical storm warning had already been issued, the promise of severe weather Friday prompted cancellation of July 4th events.

The National Weather Service said sustained winds of 35 to 45 mph are expected to begin early Friday evening, with gusts up to 50 mph, as Arthur passes between 70 and 80 miles south of Nantucket on Friday night. A storm surge up to 2 feet is possible with some coastal erosion.

Rocky Fox, who owns the Chicken Box nightclub on Nantucket, said island residents are used to being prepared.

"I think that for the most part it's another storm, but you never know what can happen," he said. "You prepare for the worst and hope for the best."

Fox said the prospect of bad weather has been good for business. "People like storms and they like to be in a bar when they hit," he said. "I don't know why, but I'll take it."

Weather for the rest of the holiday weekend promises to be seasonably sunny and hot. Local officials are warning beachgoers, though, about the likelihood of high waves and strong undertow.