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Weather Storm Blankets Sydney in Thick Red Dust

Updated on November 2, 2009
Sydney covered in thick red dust
Sydney covered in thick red dust
The sun trying to shine through Sydney's Storm of Red Dust
The sun trying to shine through Sydney's Storm of Red Dust

Extreme weather has blanketed Sydney in a thick red dust. This morning I woke to the very rare event; it's like a thick pea soup like fog but is red!

It is the strangest feeling. Sitting in my home with all windows closed, I can still feel the dust just a little in the back of my throat and experts are saying people should stay inside today if at all possible. Coming from New Zealand, I've been in Auckland city when it's cloaked in fog many times, but this is different and quite surreal. It feels a little like I'm looking at fog except its red. There is no red filter on my lense - this photograph is how it looks.

The red dust is caused by a high iron oxide content in the soil and it's dumping tonnes of dust on Sydney. This storm has traveled 1500 kilometres from the Australian desert to reach the Sydney coast. It has a front of 600 kilometres. What a phenomenal distance and size!

Yesterday we had the most beautiful day with temperatures around 30 degrees. Last night a storm rolled in, but this morning the city is blanketed in this bizzare cloud of dust. It's covered the city obscuring all the landmarks like the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge.

Weather experts are saying this is the worst storm of this type to affect Sydney. Ferries are not operating on the harbour.

This photograph is taken from my home. I can normally see right across a park and several kilometres across the city to the airport in the distance. Not this morning as Sydney airport is closed and aircraft are being diverted to Brisbane (about an hour flying time away).

Commentators are saying it's testament to how dry the country is.  People, particularly those with health issues such as asthma are urged to stay inside today.

Later in the morning when I wandered outside for my usual coffee fix I noticed that the outside cafe tables were covered in a thick dust and caffeine addicts (of which I am proudly one) found refuge inside to avoid the all pervading dust.

I was very pleased to see that by about 2p.m. the dust had settled, leaving the city to return to normal, except needing a big clean up. The car wash companies are sure to do a roaring trade.


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    • travelespresso profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

      Hello was like nothing else huh! I have seen the impressive electrical storms (also saw one in Brisbane over the weekend) but not the hailstones yet. Thanks for stopping by.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Yeah - that was weird. I walked out of my house and the sky was pink. Totally bizarre occurrence for Sydney. We get hail like golf balls and impressive electrical storms, but never dust like that.

    • travelespresso profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

      Hello Leop

      Thanks for your comment. The dust storm was incredibly surreal and possibly not something I'll experience again. The dust came in off the desert at about 6am and lasted 5 or 6 hours. However, there was a lot of dust around even the next day. Business continued as normal so a lot of people were out and about during the morning, however, it was a bad health risk. I covered my mouth and nose when I went out.

    • Leop profile image


      9 years ago

      Wow, this really looks very different from what I have seen before. Looks like something out of the movies, except that its real. So how long did it take before it passed? does it continue for hours?


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