September 23, 2009

Dust Storm Has Hit Brisbane, Australia Today!!!

I just received word from one of my Aussie readers that an unusual event has just hit Brisbane, Australia. I found this video taken by jptsanggaran while driving across the riverside expressway. On the right the buildings of the city are usually clearly visable and on the left you should be able to see across the river and into South bank and west end. WOW!


Guardian UK
Australia engulfed by dust storms
written by Toni O'Loughlin in Sydney
Wednesday 23 September 2009 07.12 BST

Wild winds sweep millions of tonnes of red dust from continent's drought-ravaged interior and dump it on coast

Storms of red dust have produced a glowing orange sky over much of Australia's east coast as the country experiences freak weather conditions.

The Sydney Opera House turned orange, flights at Sydney and Brisbane airports were delayed, building sites shut down, workers choked and emergency departments were flooded with calls in the worst dust storm to hit Australia in 70 years.

On Sydney harbour, the thick red air cut visibility to less than 100 metres and shrouded the city's iconic bridge in a ghostly hue. One commuter, forced to catch the bus to the city because ferries were cancelled, took the opportunity to photograph the Armageddon-like scene.

"I woke up and there was this unbelievable golden hue," Alex Wagstaff told a Sydney newspaper.

"It is really interesting light, it's going to be quite a challenge."

For many commuters it was chaos. Ferries were suspended and the M5 tunnel, a major road into the city, was closed.

At Sydney airport, where visibility was cut to 400 metres, flights were cancelled while several international flights were diverted to Melbourne, where flights were also delayed, as they were at Brisbane airport in Queensland.

A weather official at the NSW meteorology bureau, Barry Hanstrum, said the storm was "one of the worst, if not the worst".

"An event like this is extremely rare," he said.

As dust blanketed the east coast last night, heavy rains lashed Adelaide in the nation's south, flooding streets.

At dawn, two tremors shook Melbourne. Later in the day hailstones as big as cricket balls pelted parts of New South Wales. Heavy rain is expected to follow and flash-flood warnings have been issued.

While residents in the south brace for rain, Queenslanders are preparing for fires to erupt with the unseasonally dry weather in the far north where firefighters battled several blazes yesterday.

The bureau of meteorology said it was the worst dust storm since the 1940s, with particle pollution up to 10 times worse than the previous record. Another dust storm is predicted in the next day or two.

Health officials were urging people to stay inside as Sydney's air was expected to remain choked with particles for up to three more days.

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