Freak snow storm sends Australia into deep freeze
Wednesday, October 15, 2014, 11:00 AM - It's being called "Oct-Snowber." The freak spring storm that's plunged Australia's Blue Mountains west of Sydney into a deep freeze.
It cut power, stranded drivers and caused major public transport delays.
SNOW PICS: Spring storm brings snow to Sydney
Damaging winds and extreme rainfall also tore through the region courtesy of a low pressure system off the east coast of New South Wales, meteorologists say.
Strathfield received 94 mm of rain in just three hours, which experts say is a once in a century event.
"There's no doubt that is was a powerful storm, in fact it packed as much punch as a category two tropical cyclone," said Seven Network meteorologist David Brown.
The highest reported wind was 161 km/h at Wattamolla, just south of Sydney, Brown explained.
"Delving through the records, a storm of a similar intensity hammered the Hunter coast in May 1974 . Gusts to 165 km/h were recorded at Newcastle's Nobby's Head."
The rapid development of the low pressure system lead to the flooding rains and destructive winds.
"There is no doubt there'll be more east coast lows over the coming months, but it's highly unlikely they'll pack as much power as last night," Brown said.
The raging weather blanketed the Blue Mountains in snow, stranded motorists in floodwaters in Sydney, and left thousands of homes without power.
It comes as many Blue Mountains residents are still grappling with blown-out rebuild costs after losing their homes in last year's catastrophic bushfires.