Winter Safety Tips for Residents and Travelers In the Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains can be affected by a range of natural events that can disrupt the community. These events include strong winds from that generally occur from June until October, and summer storms from mid-November until the end of February.
In addition to these, the upper Blue Mountains west of Lawson can experience snow falls that varies from brief flurries to heavy falls. These falls can isolate some communities for long periods as occurred several times in the 20th century including the 1960s.
To assist the community deal with these types of events, the NSW SES conducts regular education campaigns in most mountains townships as well as targeted initiatives at schools. Our purpose built community education trailer forms the centre piece of many of our displays. It is staffed by SES volunteers who can answer your questions and contains a great deal of useful community and SES information.
Snow occurs all around the world so why is the Blue Mountains any different?
Snow in the Blue Mountains occurs on an irregular basis from year to year and often with little warning. As snowfalls are uncommon, residents and tourists maybe unprepared for the changing weather conditions.
Over the last 100 years, snowfalls have closed roads and disrupted power and water supplies for up to a week at a time across the Blue Mountains.
Tips for Residents:
Plan and Prepare well before Winter.
- Maintain a portable radio with fresh batteries. Tune to ABC 702 for updates on
- Chimneys require regular cleaning and inspection by professional tradespersons.
- Gas appliances and heating systems should be regularly serviced by licenced specialists.
- Consider a standby source for cooking such as a camp stove, and only use in a well ventilated area.
- Avoid using invented heaters within a closed room or where people are sleeping. The safest way to keep warm when sleeping is by using blankets and layers of clothing. Avoid leaving any heating appliance on whilst asleep.
- Keep an emergency supply of long-life food and bottled water for your family
that can last for several days.
Tips for Motorists:
If you must drive in snow or icy conditions here are some tips to follow:
- Driving in snow or icy conditions requires a high level of concentration, skill and a lot of patience. Only drive through snow or ice if it is essential.
- Maintain low speed and drive in a low gear. Vehicles may lose traction and control when travelling too fast and in a higher gear.
- Avoid gear change: Engage first or second gear on level ground (including automatics) before ascending or descending hills in snow or icy conditions.
- To avoid wheel spin accelerate slowly with gradual pressure on the accelerator.
- Brake gently as the wheels can lock up easily with loss of steering and control.
- Avoid braking into corners. Slow down before the corner whilst the wheels are straight.
- If you are delayed in snowy conditions, maintain a fresh air supply into the cabin of your car to stay alert.
- If you become stranded, keep your engine running and put your hazard lights on.
Tips for Bush Walkers
Bushwalking should be avoided when storms or snowy conditions are forecast for the Blue Mountains.
Here are some tips to follow when walking in the cooler months:
- Taking extra care when walking as tracks and footpaths may be extremely slippery. Ice can form on paths which maybe hard to see.
- Dress warmly by wearing thermal underwear and then layers of loose fitting lightweight clothing with an outer layer that will keep you dry.
- Cover your head with a beanie or a hat to maintain body warmth and mittens on your hands are often warmer than standard gloves.
- When planning a walk at any time of the year, especially overnight, register your trip and borrow a free PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) from the National Parks Office at Blackheath, Katoomba or Springwood Police Stations.
For further advice for walking in the Blue Mountains, visit TREK
Important telephone numbers
Contact NSW SES on 132 500 for assistance or 000 for life threatening emergencies.