The Fourth of July celebration on the Esplanade in Boston has been moved up to Thursday, though the fireworks may be held until Saturday. With the storm now called a Hurricane Arthur, state police and event organizers want to be sure festivities are safe.
After a day of deliberations and weather forecasts, officials decided it was best to reschedule the Fourth of July festivities, but plans are still tentative. Massachusetts State Police Colonel Timothy Alben says the concert is either happening today or not at all. It can’t be rescheduled for Saturday.
“The fireworks is a different component so I think what we would do is probably revisit the fireworks portion of this," he said. "You know, the real challenge is once fireworks are on barges, it’s more problematic actually getting them off there by hand without actually igniting them.”
Right now the fireworks are scheduled for 10:30 p.m. Officials acknowledged that there are a number of logistical issues expected to arise from the rescheduled date.
“We understand it’s a workday," Alben said. "So we’ll have regular commuter traffic here in the morning. Sometime after noon we will start initiating those road closures and close down Storrow Drive.”
Memorial Drive and with the Longfellow and Massachusetts Avenue Bridges will close at 6 p.m.
There’s no indication spirits have been dampened, yet. Many still plan to carry on the annual tradition.
“We’re all keeping an eye on it, but nobody has said we’re not doing it," said Brianna Smith who is watching the weather forecast. Everybody’s still for it. I can’t imagine what else we would do.”
“I live in San Francisco now, but I come back every year for this family barbecue/picnic that we do every year on the Charles,” she added.
But the Charles could be flooded. The National Weather Service predicts heavy rain throughout the day Thursday and Friday.
“What we’d really like to stress for everyone is the potential for flooding," said Glenn Field, a warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service. Anytime you can hear thunder it’s time to go indoors.”
Tropical Storm Arthur turned into a hurricane as it traveled from Florida.
“This is definitely early in the season for a hurricane," Field said. "Actually, New England has not been hit directly with a July hurricane ever, at least not in the last 100 years. But, actually, we’re not anticipating any landfall in New England so that trend should continue. It’s expected to pass within 100 to 150 miles southeast of Nantucket.”