THOUSANDS of people were rapidly ushered out of Hunter Valley Gardens on Christmas Eve amid the most severe lightning storm to hit the region all year.
Lightning was striking several times a second, over and around the gardens, at about 8.30pm. Light rain also fell.
I was there with my eight-year-old daughter. Last year and the year before, right on Christmas Eve, it has rained on the festival of lights. But this was very different.
I was reminded of how my brother-in-law lost four horses that stood under a tree during a storm.The lightning bolt had struck the tree and charged the ground for a radius of several metres. I spoke to the manager.
It was a real shame, being Christmas Eve, but I called Cessnock police. The attending officer was obliged to relay my concerns back to Hunter Valley Gardens’ management.
I drove the 85 or so kilometres back through Branxton and home. It was a shame, but the storm could have been a serious risk to people.
Thankfully, we are able to go back before the Hunter Valley Gardens’ Festival of Lights closes. Our tickets were refunded.
Big thanks to Hunter Valley Gardens management for doing the right thing.
Ray Mizzi, Toukley