Wild winds wreak havoc in Mountains

A large fallen tree at a property on Hilda Street, Blaxland. Photo: Top Notch Video.

A large fallen tree at a property on Hilda Street, Blaxland. Photo: Top Notch Video.

A Blue Mountains SES volunteer chops a fallen tree into smaller pieces in the backyard of a property on Hersey Street, Blaxland on June 25. Photo: Top Notch Video.

A Blue Mountains SES volunteer chops a fallen tree into smaller pieces in the backyard of a property on Hersey Street, Blaxland on June 25. Photo: Top Notch Video.

Freezing gale force winds battered the Blue Mountains on Tuesday, June 24 and again on the weekend, causing damage to properties, power cuts and even road closures.

Blue Mountains State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers - assisted by Rural Fire Service, NSW Fire and Rescue and Police personnel - worked around the clock in the challenging conditions, completing 82 jobs to assist residents from June 24-26.

Crews mainly dealt with roof damage, fallen trees and branches and other damage caused by debris.

A large tree fell onto power lines and a parked car in Medlow Bath on the afternoon of June 26, forcing the closure of the Great Western Highway in both directions for several hours.

Joanne Nueez, who was stuck in the resulting traffic jam for more than two hours in the chilly conditions, commented on the Gazette's Facebook site: "I have to say the emergency services, police and everyone else involved in getting the tree cleared did an amazing job.

"There was a policeman that took the time to stop at every car along the highway, asking if people were okay and letting them know how long it was going to take."

Power was temporarily lost in some sections of Blackheath, Medlow Bath and Mt Victoria into the night on June 24.

Statewide, NSW SES received nearly 800 calls for assistance last week.

While it was very cold, there were only a few short-lived snow flurries in Blackheath and Mt Victoria and higher parts of Katoomba and Leura, but areas further west including the hills around Oberon received several centimetres of snow that covered the ground.

Katoomba had a maximum temperature of only 5.6 degrees on June 26 and then plummeted to -2 degrees overnight, but it felt much colder with the wind chill.

Wind gusts peaked at 96km/h with average wind speeds of 50 to 65km/h.

Early on Monday morning the temperature at Mt Boyce was only -3 degrees.

The wild weather was caused by the combination of a strong cold front which crossed south-east NSW and an intense low-pressure system west of Tasmania, followed by a second frontal system.

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