Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Rare Heavy Dust Storm Brings Red Dawn to Sydney

An unusually strong dust storm brought red skies and extremely low visibility to Sydney, Australia this morning. Although dust storms are fairly frequent in the Australian interior, it's very rare for storms of this intensity to reach the coast. At midday, the heavy dust cloud covered half of the state of New South Wales. The visibility restrictions caused widespread disruption in transportation systems and ferry service was suspended. Long delays occurred at Sydney Airport as Qantas flights were diverted to Brisbane and Melbourne. More than 500 fire alarms were reported between 3 and 7 am as dust particles set off detectors.

Coverage from the Sydney Morning Herald:
Today's forecast for Sydney:
"Strong to gale force west to northwest winds, gradually easing late afternoon or evening. Raised dust clearing, otherwise fine. Cloudy periods."

Image (click to enlarge): Sydney Opera House enveloped in dust, from Sydney Morning Herald

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