A blanket of ice covers region, several black outs across Parkes Shire | Photos

Despite it being spring right now, the region looked more like a winter wonderland on Wednesday evening and into Thursday morning after heavy hail and rain hit the area.

Readers submitted photos of inches of ice covering areas in Forbes, Eugowra and Cookamidgera after 3pm.

The hail also caused disruption to local roads and a number of homes were left in the dark for hours.

The damaging storm appears to have gone in a fairly narrow band, with Essential Energy crews kept busy in Bogan Gate, Cookamidgera, Parkes, Peak Hill, Tullamore, Yarrabandai and surrounding areas when the storm caused power outages for homes and businesses.

Essential Energy’s northern community relations manager, David Crough, said crews worked as quickly as safety allowed to restore power for customers.

“The storm caused a large number of faults, including blown fuses, fallen powerlines and a faulty transformer, across a wide area,” he said.

“Additional crews and equipment from Dubbo and Tottenham were brought in to assist our Parkes crews.”

Cookamidgera was the first impacted with 65 homes and businesses experiencing an unplanned power outage between 7.08pm and 11.02pm.

“Peak Hill was the hardest hit area with quite a number of separate faults being caused by the storms,” David said.

Peak Hill was first impacted by outages at 10.23pm Wednesday while Bogan Gate was first impacted at 10.59pm.

The storms also caused blackouts for thousands of other customers across a wide area of NSW, including south of Forbes and Eugowra, Cowra and east of Young.

“While customers made quite a number of unplanned power outage reports on Wednesday, new reports have continued to come in throughout Thursday morning,” David said.

“Crews have been working to restore power for customers after the storm and hope to have power restored to all customers by late Thursday afternoon.”

Essential Energy reminds the public to report fallen or damaged powerlines immediately by calling 13 20 80 and to stay at least eight metres away from the line and anything in contact with it.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused and thank customers for their understanding as we worked to restore power after the storm,” David said.

The Escort Way between Forbes and Eugowra was closed for a number of hours on Wednesday night after the hail and rain hit.

Police warned motorists using the Eugowra Road between Parkes and Forbes to exercise extreme caution after thick ice covered the road about 15 kilometres out of Parkes, but remained open.

Police reported that the water over The Escort Way was inches deep in parts, and photographs show a thick blanket of white hailstones on the road. 

They were called out in the early afternoon to reports of cars trying to get off the road in dangerously icy conditions. 

Even on Thursday morning, Forbes SES controller Roc Walshaw said the Eugowra hills “looked like the Snowy Mountains”.

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