Lightning strikes One World Trade Center in NYC storm

By Dan Mennella

A fireworks display on July 2 may be a bit premature for some, but Mother Nature apparently couldn't wait to get the show started in Gotham on Wednesday.

A strong thunderstorm rolled through New York City around 8 p.m. ET, bringing an ominous and spectacular display of lightning, dark clouds and heavy rain. The incredible scene, which included an apparent direct lightning strike at the top of One World Trade Center, was caught by several cameras and photographers, whose pictures quickly made the rounds on social media.

A great series of before, during and after pictures was taken and posted on Twitter by New York-based photojournalist Gary Hershorn, who came away with similar shots of NYC under assault by a storm in May. One of Hershorn's pictures from Wednesday's storm was retweeted over 1,400 times and favorited over 700 times within two hours after it was published:

Should you see any fireworks that matches or beats this scene, it will have been a great holiday.