23 September 2009

Held Hostage by Dust

Dust storms. I hate them. Australia is usually quite dry, and when weather conditions are feeling capricious, dust from the desert is whipped up and blown over all of us who live on the east, from Queensland (where we are) down to the southern states.

It blew a gale last night, a warm but desperate-sounding gale. And remember, our house backs onto a nature reserve (we call it our 'forest') so when it's windy, the roar of the giant eucalypts is pretty intense.

I think I saw some sun this morning. Then it clouded over and soon after, I noticed the distance looked a little hazy. I read on the ABC news site that there was a huge dust storm over Sydney, and I hoped our haze was rain, not dust.

No such luck. In 60 to 90 minutes and before our eyes, the haze got thicker and thicker. Fewer houses and trees could be seen in the distance. A blanket of dust could be seen on the top of each car in the supermarket carpark. The air started to smell characteristically dusty and even inside the supermarket the air appeared hazy.

And now, we are living in an orange-brown cloud of cloying dust. You can usually see our local shops on the hill beyond that funky-lookin' house opposite us:

And yes, there actually ARE hills beyond there. Look at the palms, being blown to bits.

I have the first bloom on my lovely orange "Brilliant" rose to photograph, but the pics aren't turning out well in the light. All the pictures in this post were taken at 10am.

For the rest of the day, we have been held hostage inside the house by the dust. And although this is possibly the worst or second-worst dust storm I've experienced, they say it's worse down south.

The ABC news article says, "... ABC weather forecaster Graham Creed says particles in the air have reached dangerous levels. 'They're classed as dangerous at levels above 200,' he said. 'In Sydney's east they're recording about 256, in the north-west 919, and in the south-west 1,719. But Sydney is not the worst, Bathurst at the moment is 2,665.' Emergency departments are under pressure after at least 250 people across New South Wales called 000 with breathing problems." That must be terrible.

I hope it goes quickly, and then I hope it rains!


Hippomanic Jen said...

Rains? You mean that you believe that old wives tale about water falling from the sky?!

Swift Jan said...

Isn't it just horrid!! I went out at 8am this morning. It was sunny, I left the windows open. You can imagine what I came home to at 3pm this arvo. How thrilled am I!!!

Please let it rain!

Heather said...

As I said over on Crazy Sister's blog last night - reading these words and seeing the pictures is totally giving me the urge to cough. Hard.

I hope this ends for you all QUICKLY with lots of cleansing rain!! This is way worse than our winter snows, for sure!

CynthiaK said...

Wow, that is some kind of weird weather. Nothing like that here in middle/eastern Canada. I can't even imagine the breathing issues!

I hope the rain comes soon for you all and you can get some relief!

Sassy Britches said...

Oh my goodness! Praying for rain, praying for rain!

Tracy P. said...

Wow, I hope you all get some relief soon. Even so, that is a stunningly perfect rose. I hope you snipped it off right away and brought it inside where is safe!

Jen said...

Thats terrible. I wish that I could sent you some of our rain and humidity.

CynthiaK said...

Your Aussie dust storm has made the news way up here in Canada, too! Some of the footage is incredible!

Hope you're all literally breathing a sigh of relief very soon.

stefanie said...

Big news here in the US too, and my daughter is going to use it for Current Events tomorrow. Did you see these?


Click on pictures 4,5 and 6 to see the same view with and without the dust.

Hope you all came through ok.

stefanie said...

you may need to expand the popout box to get the full web address...

Crazy Sister said...

You'd think the weather bureau could have given us some warning, hey! That would have been nice to know before we slept with every single window wide open.

I love the last sentence on that news link you had - "Dust Experts say..."

Dust experts! Fantastic. Hey, I took Nana Tantrum's advice on my blog and looked up the Oklohoma Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Scary.

Dee from Downunder said...

looks pretty windy there! we just had gusts, but the dust was as bad

Ann said...

Wow, that looks awful. We don't get that here. We once lived in Salt Lake City, Utah, and every now and then a dust storm would whip up over the lake (it's very, very dry there) but sometimes it would be followed by rain... which was weird, because with all the dust in the air, it would actually rain mud! Really nice on the windows, lol!

The Accidental Housewife said...

We've just got the dust here today in Townsville, but it's white. I can't see my mountain at all!