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National Night Out rained out again
The Richmond Hill Police Department said it grilled about 700 hot dogs in anticipation of National Night Out. Extra food due to the event's cancellation will be donated to a local charity or church. - photo by Photo courtesy of RHPD Facebook page

For the second consecutive year Richmond Hill’s National Night Out was cut short by severe weather.

Heavy rains with lightning and thunder that started about 6:45 p.m. Thursday forced vendors to pack up and sent crowds scrambling for shelter. Cedar Street was backed up with vehicles from Ford Avenue into J.F. Gregory Park with people leaving for close to an hour.

“We were watching the weather on radar and the lightning was about three miles out,” said Maj. Mike Albritton of the Richmond Hill Police Department. “We saw about seven strikes in four minutes and that’s when we decided to shut it down.”

Albritton said he conferred with Mayor Howard Fowler, who agreed.

“With so much metal in the pavilion, it was just too much liability for the city,” Albritton added.

The RHPD had cooked about 700 of the 1,000 hotdogs it intended to give away to attendees.

“In the past we’ve cooked about 2,500 and always had too many left over, so we reduced that this year,” Albritton said. “We donate the extra to a local charity or church and we’ll do the same this year.”

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