POLICE have issued a safety warning for all of the snow chasers planning to head to Barrington Tops this weekend.
Snow is forecast to dust the national park overnight as temperatures across the Hunter Region plummet.
Hunter Valley Local Area Command Chief Inspector Guy Guiana said that while Barrington Tops Forest Road (Gloucester to Scone) is currently open, visitors are advised to exercise extreme care when driving in these conditions.
"The predicted weather conditions will make roads extremely slippery," Inspector Guiana said.
"With strong winds, there is also potential for trees and branches to fall, posing a direct risk to visitors, and possibly blocking access in and out of the area."
A large tree has already come down at the Victoria Hotel, Moonan Flat, just outside the Barrington area. No one was injured when the tree collapsed in strong winds, landing across the outdoor picnic area and beer garden at the hotel.
"Conditions will be monitored, and road closures may be put in place to ensure the safety of all users if required. It is vital that visitors planning a trip to the Barrington Tops are prepared for changing weather conditions," Inspector Guiana said.
"Let someone know your plans before travelling, understand that mobile phone coverage is very limited in this remote area, and that conditions on the sub-alpine plateau can change rapidly."
For the latest available information on road conditions and closures check with:
- Gloucester Visitor Information Centre on 02 6538 5252
- Scone Visitor Information Centre on 02 6540 1300
- Barrington Tops Snow Chaser Facebook page
- Barrington Tops Tourism Facebook page
Tips for staying safe:
- Leave the two-wheel-drive at home - four-wheel-drives are best suited for driving in snow and ice conditions
- Check weather and road conditions before you leave home and again before you leave Scone or Gloucester
- Leave plenty of time for the return trip in daylight hours: travel time is up to 1.5 hours from Gloucester or Scone
- Pack additional warm clothing and extra food and water
- Tell someone where you're going and when you'll be back.
Related content: Barrington Tops snow in 2017
The Bureau of Meteorology has also issued a severe wind warning for the region.
A series of cold fronts are expected to cross southeastern NSW from Thursday until Sunday, generating vigorous westerly winds.
Winds averaging 60 to 70 kilometres per hour with peak gusts in excess of 90 are expected for the high country about the Barrington Tops. In Newcastle and the rest of the Hunter damaging winds are expected from Friday morning, averaging 60 to 70 kilometres per hour.
The State Emergency Service advises that people should:
* Move vehicles under cover or away from trees.
* Secure or put away loose items around your house, yard and balcony.
* Keep at least 8 metres away from fallen power lines or objects that may be energised, such as fences.
* Report fallen power lines to either Ausgrid (131 388), Endeavour Energy (131 003), Essential Energy (132 080) or Evoenergy (131 093) as shown on your power bill.
* For emergency help in floods and storms, ring your local SES Unit on 132 500.
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