September 23, 2009

red glow over Sydney

Waking up today and looking out the window to check the current weather was quite different than the other days. The sky was bright red, not from the sun but rather from a big dust cloud hanging over Sydney. Overnight a pall of red dust blown in from the Outback clogged the skies over Sydney. It was carried by powerful winds that snatched up tons of topsoil from country's drought-ravaged inland and threw it high into the sky. As dawn broke, sunlight struggled to penetrate the dust cloud, casting an eerie red glow over the city.

Such thick dust is a rarity over Australia's largest city, and came along with whiplashing winds and other uncommon weather conditions across the country in recent days.

"It did feel like Armageddon because when I was in the kitchen looking out the skylight, there was this red glow coming through," Sydney resident Karen told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.

The storms — visible as a huge brown smudge in satellite photographs of Australia on Wednesday — are the most severe since the 1940s, experts said.

"These dust storms are some of the largest in the last 70 years," said Nigel Tapper, an environmental scientist at Monash University, noting that one dust storm this week blew as far away as New Zealand some 1,400 miles (2,220 kilometers) away.

Drivers in the southeast of Queensland state, including the capital of Brisbane, switched on their headlights Wednesday and police warned them to slow down as dust darkened skies there. The winds also fanned at least one major wildfire in the area.

quotes taken from Yahoo News!

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