While most of us are still waiting for the ball to drop around the world, those living in the far east and Pacific regions have already rung in the new year. That includes the eastern parts of Australia, and Sydney put on a spectacular display of fireworks to light up the night sky over the world-famous Harbour Bridge.
As reported by news.com.au, the New Year’s plans in the city were nearly thwarted by thunderstorms that lashed the city just hours ahead of midnight. Fortunately, the weather cleared up in time for the fireworks display to continue on as planned.
“The weather hasn’t been great, there was heavy rain but it has cleared and we are going to try to go ahead with everything we have planned for the concert, and we have a lot planned,” Charlie Pickering, a reporter on ABC said shortly before midnight.
The fireworks display started around 9 p.m., three hours before the ball dropped, with a pair of sparklers lighting up the sky. As the hours ticked away and the countdown turned to just seconds, either side of the bridge lit up with the countdown. With just 10 seconds on the clock, the numbers started to flash on the bridge itself, counting toward the center of the bridge.
At midnight, the display culminated in the word “Sydney” lit across Harbour Bridge, and a massive display of fireworks coming right off the top of the structure.
The storm that brewed before the countdown brought with it 8 millimeters of rain and plenty of lightning flashing across the sky. It ended up resulting in the cancellation of a scheduled 8 p.m. aerial flyover display. Fortunately, they calmed down enough to allow the 9 p.m. and midnight shows to go ahead.
People started gathering for the display early, with over a million spectators expected in the area. New South Wales Police warned revelers that while a terror threat is always a possibility, there has been no specific threat to the event and they had set up precautions to prevent any dangers.
“We put obstacles between those large crowds and vehicles to ensure people can get in and out safely and enjoy their night in safety,” Acting Deputy Commissioner Mark Walton said on Monday.
Twenty government-owned locations around the bridge also caused a bit of a furor when they decided to ticket people wanting to watch the fireworks, with the nearby Botanic Gardens charging people $335 per head.