Up to 2500 homes in Blue Mountains have been warned that they
could lose power overnight, after spring snow hit the region
west of Sydney.
Power supply was interrupted in Blackheath, Mount Victoria,
Medlow Bath, the Megalong Valley and Leura today due to
strong winds and snowfall.
"Snow on road access has hampered our ability to patrol the
network and make repairs to safely restore power supply,"
Drew Ferguson from Endeavour Energy said in a statement.
"We are hoping an expected break in the weather later this
evening will allow us to use a helicopter to survey the
damage from the air."
More than 300 motorists were rescued and taken to emergency
refuges as spring snow brought traffic to a standstill - and
sparked snowball fights and other fun.
Snow was reported at Bungendore, Moss Vale and Goulburn on
the southern tablelands, Orange and Blackheath on the central
tablelands, and Guyra on the northern tablelands.
Drivers were stranded as the Great Western Highway in the
Blue Mountains became impassable, with slicks of potentially
deadly black ice developing as temperatures plunged.
The road was shut between Bullaburra and Mount Victoria,
forcing motorists to shelter in refuges set up at Medlow
Bath, Katoomba and Blackheath.
Emily Lambert, team leader at the RSPCA Blue Mountains Animal
Shelter, arrived to work in Katoomba and found several
centimetres of snow.
"The animals found it quite funny. One border collie didn't
know what to make of it and ran around, trying to chase the
snow flakes," she told AAP.
Blue Mountains City Councillor Don McGregor said the snow was
"It's the thickest fall we've had for at least 10 years," he
said. "I'm no skier, but I'm confident I could ski on it."
The SES received 360 calls as fierce winds brought trees down
and damaged roofs in the Illawarra, southern highlands,
Sydney and NSW south coast.
A fresh severe weather warning was issued by the Bureau of
Meteorology at 5pm (AEDT), forecasting wind gusts of up to
100kmh in the coastal parts of the Illawarra, Sydney and the
Hunter, with large seas for the southern and central coast.
People in Sydney, the Illawarra, the Hunter and south coast
were told to steer clear from the surf, as an "intense" low
pressure system moves slowly northeast.
"Gale-force winds, localised heavy rain and large swells are
being generated near and to the south of this system,
although conditions are expected to ease through the night,"
the BoM said.
Since the wild weather started 24 hours ago, more than 230mm
of rain has fallen in Ulladulla on the south coast.
Sheep graziers across much of the state are being warned of
more cold temperatures and southwesterly winds during Friday
night and into Saturday with a high risk of losses of lambs
and sheep exposed to these conditions, the BoM said.
Forecasters say temperatures will rise over the weekend and
winds will ease, as the low-pressure system moves offshore.