The water was seeping in from everywhere. Outside Lizotte's Restaurant at Lambton, torrential rain hammered down in what forecasters described as a once-in-10-year event.
From the sky, the intense isolated storm could be clearly seen moving slowly across the region, drenching the land with a column of pouring rain.
The water had covered Morehead Street completely, spilling into Lambton Park on one side, and through the doors of the restaurant on the other. Cars waded through water lapping at the doors sending what owner Brian Lizotte called "mini tsunamis" rolling inside.
"It was one of the worst deluges ever," Mr Lizotte said yesterday, recalling only one other storm as intense in his 11 years with the restaurant.
"We could see the water coming in - the back doors, the front doors, everywhere. The drains just could not handle the deluge ... Probably about a third of the restaurant had water inside. It just came up the kerb, up the front door and into the restaurant."
It took around two hours for the flooding to subside, in which time the team of chefs, who had been fighting to keep the water at bay, threw their soaking whites in a dryer, staff prepared the floor, and by 6pm the club's Live n Loud event went ahead as planned.
"All of my staff were absolutely amazing. All banded together and just kept on cleaning and trying to dry it out. We had bands loading in, and at 6pm we opened as usual. Music prevailed," Mr Lizotte said. "The show must go on."
In the wake of the freak storm, Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery yesterday lambasted the state government over perceived "cost-shifting" for "rejecting" her calls to widen the notorious stormwater chokepoint at Ironbark Creek.
"My most recent requests that Hunter Water finally hold up their end of the bargain have been rejected, even though the widening of the Ironbark Creek channel involves assets solely owned by Hunter Water. They reckon council should take care of it," Ms Hornery said.
"This latest example of cost-shifting from this Government is endangering lives and property in the Wallsend Electorate."
In a statement yesterday evening, a spokesperson said Hunter Water "remains committed to working collaboratively" with City of Newcastle toward managing flood risk at Wallsend.
"We play a role in the management of flooding in Wallsend, through the ownership and maintenance of the main concrete stormwater channel in the CBD," the spokesperson said. "We do not, however, have responsibility for stormwater planning and upgrades, and for the Wallsend system, these remain the responsibility of the council."
In September, the City began works on Tyrrell Street bridge, as part of a broad plan for flood mitigation works in the suburb, which Ms Hornery said yesterday was tracking months ahead of schedule. But she then slammed Hunter Water for "refusing to rebuild its assets in line with the plan."
While you're with us, did you know the Newcastle Herald offers breaking news alerts, daily email newsletters and more? Keep up to date with all the local news - sign up here
IN NEWS TODAY
- 'I spiralled out of control': Jarrod Mullen avoids jail over drug charges
- Sex criminal, disgraced former Labor MP Milton Orkopoulos loses parole
- Newcastle council scraps outdoor dining fees
- Southerly buster on its way up the southern Hunter and Central Coast
- Rugby union: Legendary Lemons a champion to the end