Click on photos - some will open into larger images

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Worst Dust Storm in Oz History

We are enjoying being on the northern coast of New South Wales. The coastline here is spectacular – miles upon miles of white, sandy beaches, clear blue water, surf reserves or calm water, weather to match! Yesterday, we had the most glorious weather. This was the sunset we enjoyed.

VLUU L100  / Samsung L100


Today, we began our day with a beautiful walk along one of the many beaches here.


One of the locals even popped out to see us!


Within a short space of time, the horizon began to take on a pink tinge and there was a distinct feeling that a storm was brewing.


VLUU L100  / Samsung L100

And then everything turned yellow……and then a pinky-orangey-red.

It was weird. And the light was so eerie.

The high winds and unusually coloured skies made it feel like we were in the middle of a huge rainstorm…..except that there was no rain! Visibility dropped, and you could smell and feel the dust everywhere.



Can you believe these photos were taken at about lunchtime today!


Everything felt surreal! We are told, that the dust storm was fuelled by gale force winds blowing across the drought ravaged lands of western NSW. The strong winds spread a huge cloud of dust about 600kms from Sydney up the coastline through to Brisbane, dumping up to 75,000 tonnes of reddish dust per hour into the Tasman Sea.



Airports & traffic were disrupted as the dust reduced visibility to metres in some areas. Whereas a normal day might see about 10mcg of dust particles per cubic m of air, and a bushfire might generate about 500mcg/m3 of air, today’s dust storm saw levels soar up to 15,400mcg/m3 of air! No wonder I spent the day feeling like I needed another layer of moisturiser!



This last pic was taken at about 4pm today. The orb is the sun, not the moon! It has felt like dusk since the morning. Very unsettling indeed! I have enjoyed the unusual nature of the day, but am looking forward to a return to the status quo….


Anonymous said...

Wow, wonderful photos. NZ may miss having your dust storms as we have forecast rain until Sunday so the rain may drive it off. However we're enjoying Oz strawberries at the moment, yum. Will send a catch up email soon. SM

Ange of the North said...

Unreal! I read about the storms this morning and was hoping you'd post some photos. Your last one of the sun reminds me of what it was like here last January (I think) when we had nothing but fog for a couple of weeks. But it was cold...

Links to Author Profiles