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!