STRONG north-westerly winds have caused a dust storm in the Upper Hunter this morning.
Department of Planning officers are inspecting dust blowing from several mine sites which have been the subject of complaints.
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UPDATED: Power is also out in Hexham with traffic lights blacked out on the Pacific Highway.
A Roads and Maritime Services spokesman said the lights had been inactive since 10.30am.
Traffic is being affected in all directions.
EARLIER: Strong winds are being blamed for bringing down a large tree near Cessnock on Tuesday morning, causing power to go out to more than 1200 homes.
An Ausgrid spokesman said crews had located a tree fallen across wires in Bimbadeen Road at Mount View. Crews were initially called about 9.20am after reports of power out to homes in Cessnock, Bellbird and Pelton.
The spokesman said crews were working to isolate the outage and hoped to restore power to the majority of customers within the next few hours, depending on the extent of the damage. He said high winds in the Hunter were suspected of bringing the tree and wires down.