PARTS of the Monaro were transformed into a winter wonderland last Friday as heavy snowfalls provided a picturesque start to the day. Residents in Nimmitabel, Adaminaby, Kybeyan, Dalgety and even Cooma were greeted to some magnificent scenes, however the enjoyment was short-lived as the snow played havoc on the region's roads.
The Monaro Highway was closed between Cooma and Nimmitabel for an extended period after a number of cars slid off the road and became stuck. Police and the Roads and Maritime Service (RMS) put road closures in place near the Cooma Saleyards, blocking traffic for almost five hours. Brown Mountain was closed after a number of drivers were forced to turn around after conditions became too dangerous.
Donna Smith, Cooma Tourism Manager, says the Cooma Visitors Centre had over 500 enquiries into local road conditions.
"We turned into a communications centre, 500 people called and visited us to enquire about the roads," Ms Smith said.
"It became quite hectic, but it was good for the town. People could hang around and visit the town."
The highway was reopened shortly before 1.30pm, after snow ploughs and the RMS ensured the roads were safe to drive on.
Residents in Nimmitabel awoke to a thick covering of snow, with many people forced to take the day off work as they were unable to venture outside the town.
School buses were also affected due to the dangerous road conditions. Bombala and Nimmitabel school buses cancelled their runs for the day.
On a positive note, Cooma businesses saw many drivers stop in for lunch as they awaited the re-opening of main thoroughfare to the coast.
"The closure of a major highway is a busy time. It resulted in confusion as people were being told different information about the roads," Ms Smith said.
"We had many people enquire a number of times throughout the day, it's important to give people the right information."