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Strong winds hit but cold snap won't last long

Date

Larissa Nicholson

The windy weather may have been the reason the flags were not flying at Commonwealth Place on Wednesday.

The windy weather may have been the reason the flags were not flying at Commonwealth Place on Wednesday. Photo: Graham Tidy

Wild winds buffeted Canberra on Wednesday, causing power blackouts to thousands of properties across the territory.

In a return to winter weather, wind gusts at Canberra Airport reached up to 64km/h at 1pm, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

The ACT State Emergency Service received at least 33 calls for help during the day, and the National Capital Authority took down the international flags on the shore of Lake Burley Griffin.

A snow picture taken on December 5 at Thredbo.

A snow picture taken on December 5 at Thredbo. Photo: @ThredboResort on Twitter

ActewAGL general manager of network services Rob Atkin said 3700 customers had had interruptions to their electricity supply from 8am.

''The interruptions were mainly caused by tree branches falling onto power lines as a result of strong winds,'' he said.

There were blackouts in Kambah, Greenway, Wanniassa, Lyneham, Melba, Gilmore and Griffith.

Hot to cold ... high winds have brought a temporary cold snap at the start of Canberra's summer.

Hot to cold ... high winds have brought a temporary cold snap at the start of Canberra's summer. Photo: Hamish Boland-Rudder

The State Emergency Service was kept busy, responding to calls for help mostly regarding minor damage from trees and branches across roads and pathways.

But three houses and some vehicles were more severely damaged by the wind.

A long line of empty flagpoles made a strange sight on the shore of Lake Burley Griffin, when the international flags were removed to alleviate stress on the poles caused by the high winds.

A spokeswoman for the authority said the international flags were rarely removed, and only in the case of unusual or extreme weather events.

She said the 99 flags, representing the foreign missions in Canberra, would be stored at the authority's Yarralumla depot until the strong winds passed and they could be returned.

The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe weather warning for damaging winds on Wednesday, but while strong, they did not meet the 90-110km/h gusts predicted.

Meteorologist Magda Galos said the Snowy Mountains was one of the worst hit areas in NSW, with gusts of 80km/h recorded at 9am.

Residents of Cooma also experienced blustery conditions, with gusts of 74km/h recorded at 3pm.

But Canberrans wondering what happened to summer will be pleased to know this cold snap is only temporary.

Meteorologist Rebecca Kamitakahara said the wintry chill was caused by a cold air mass moving over Canberra.

The bureau is predicting light winds of 15-20km/h and a maximum temperature of 25 degrees on Thursday, warming to a mostly sunny day with a maximum temperature of 30 degrees on Saturday.

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