Katoomba RRT Helps Snowbound Motorists
On Thursday 16.7.2015 snowfall was predicted for the Blue Mountains, just west of Sydney NSW. By 9pm snow was falling steadily and the landscape soon turned white. By 10pm many motorists in the upper mountains had come to a chilly standstill, with snow continuing to fall heavily.
The SES and Police were quick to take action, closing the Great Western Highway, and a refuge was established at Medlow Bath RFS Station. Stranded travellers were offered shelter, some of whom by now had run out of petrol in their vehicles, and in one case battery power as well.
After receiving a call from help from the Katoomba Police, around 10:30pm, RRT arrived on location and set up heaters. This was followed by hot drinks and freshly baked muffins. Motorists were glad to have shelter from the elements and something to warm them up. The RRT continued to serve hot drinks and food throughout the night to the 30-40 motorists stranded in the Fire Station.
A RRT shift change around 3am brought with it another heater, some fresh food and a generator.
As the snow continued to fall throughout the night and into the early hours of Friday morning; trees which were loaded with snow began dropping limbs, some falling on power lines causing mains power to fail. The Medlow Bath Fire Station was plunged into darkness, fortunately RRT were on hand to set up a generator for temporary power and lighting.
Friday morning dawned; and the upper mountains awoke to witness the largest snowfall in 20-30 years! Motorists who had hopes of returning to their vehicles were further delayed while graders made their way along the highway clearing snow off the road, and pulling out trucks which had slid off the road and become stuck.
RRT in Katoomba prepared breakfast and got it to the station by 7:00am. They then served breakfast to all, those who had spent the night at the fire shed as well as some passers-by, and RFS crews delivered meals to those who spent the night in their vehicles.
Finally, late morning Friday the emergency services returned and collected all the stranded motorists and returned them to their vehicles, to continue their interrupted journeys.