BOSTON — 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,” 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.