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Massive dust storm in Australia

  1. Sep 22, 2009 #1

    sylas

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    I woke up this morning and the light was freaky! Everything seemed orange. Outside, the sky is pale orange, like fog but the wrong color. Trees a few houses across are fading into the orange ... we've got a dust storm.

    I live in Newcastle, a bit north of Sydney. This storm came up last night and apparently covers most of New South Wales, where it has caused a fair bit of chaos. Sydney had it very bad. The dust is now headed for Brisbane -- 1000 kilometers north.

    See Sydney turns red: dust storm blankets city at the Sydney Morning Herald for more.

    Felicitations -- sylas

    miro-sydney-harbour-bridge-600x400.jpg
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 22, 2009 #2
    Yeah that was crazy, the wind woke me up about 6 in the morning and it was blood red outside... scared the hell out of me lol. Its like the apocalypse haha
     
  4. Sep 22, 2009 #3

    lisab

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    Can these be forecast, or do they just surprise you all of a sudden, with orange-red light in the morning (sounds kind of cool, btw)?

    I can imagine people with asthma or other respiratory problems this may be an issue, but does it pose a hazard to people without such problems?
     
  5. Sep 22, 2009 #4

    sylas

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    It's not really a big hazard; though it's a good idea to stay indoors if you have respiratory problems. It makes everything dirty. I normally put a cover over my car, and so this morning I was thinking... "oh good -- I'm glad I had that cover".

    Then I had a look outside and said a bad word. Left the cover off last night. I'll need to wash the car again.

    This is the second time I've been in a big duststorm like this. The first time was in Melbourne, in 1983, and that was even bigger. It was like night time, and on that occasion I had no idea at all why it was suddenly pitch black outside at 3 in the afternoon. Most of the dust was up quite high, and it blocked out the Sun like nothing I've seen. It was like an eclipse; but we do know those in advance. When you don't expect it and don't know what is going on, it is scary. Apocalypse automatically comes to mind. Even when you know the cause it still leaves you quite discombobulated at a primal kind of level.

    Here's a dramatic shot of the 1983 dust storm rolling in towards Melbourne.
    sand_storm.jpg

    Cheers -- sylas
     
  6. Sep 22, 2009 #5
    Sylas, that last picture you posted of the dust storm heading towards Melbourne is incredible.. I've never seen anything like that in my life, didn't even think it occured outside of hollywood.... W-O-W
     
  7. Sep 23, 2009 #6

    sylas

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    Quite. Actually, big storms like this are not unusual. What's unusual is when they get all the way down to big cities like Melbourne or Sydney. In towards the center where they originate they are quite common. You also get big duststorms in plenty of other places around the world; and they are certainly impressive if you can see them coming in. In 1983 I did not see it arriving, unfortunately. I just looked out the office window and noticed it was nighttime already. At 3pm. :surprised

    The comparison with an apocalypse is inevitable if you aren't used to them; it is really freaky. But it's just dust.

    This is fun. Here are some more photos. I've attached thumbnails, and you link to the page for more.

    Awesome photos of duststorms in the 1930s in Texas: http://www.weru.ksu.edu/new_weru/multimedia/dustbowl/dustbowlpics.html [Broken].
    theb1365small.jpg

    You still get them: The May 29 2004 duststorm, Kansas.
    glddust.JPG

    Iraq: Mother of all Dust Storms.
    Dust Storm3t.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  8. Sep 23, 2009 #7
    The pic of the '83 storm reminds me of a Arizona monsoon pic I saw once.

    This isn't the one but it gives you an idea...
    http://mygallery.eph2810.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/arizona-monsoon.jpg [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  9. Sep 23, 2009 #8

    Mentallic

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    It scared the crap out of me.... Actually, I thought it was really cool :biggrin:

    As I tumbled over to change positions in my sleep this morning at 6am, I took a short glance at what seemed like my closed blinds were separating me from some deep orange apocalyptic wasteland. I pulled the blinds and... oh damn it was a dirty orange/red everywhere!
    My attention was quickly turned away from this amazing sight when my cat climbed up to the window and was begging to be let in. (maybe he too was superstitious of red skies?).

    At 7:30am I tried to search for the sun in the sky - which was quite a difficult task for me as I had no clue which way to search for north/south etc. without a starry night sky, let alone no sky at all - and concluded that this pale blue ball among all the orange was the sun. I hope I didn't mistake this for the moon...?
     
  10. Sep 23, 2009 #9

    Astronuc

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    Quite a dust storm. Apparently Brisbane got it too.

    http://www.smh.com.au/photogallery/national/brisbanes-cbd-cloaked-in-dust/20090923-g0x8.html

    Such dust isn't good for jet engines.
     
  11. Sep 23, 2009 #10

    Moonbear

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    I don't think it's ever good to breathe in dust, but if they wear a dust mask outside, unless there's something special about Brisbane dust, it would probably be okay.

    I should go buy stock in whatever kinds of filters they use for A/C and furnaces in Australia! Everyone will need to replace those very soon!
     
  12. Sep 23, 2009 #11

    QuantumPion

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    All the pictures I've seen make Sydney look like Mars!

    http://img148.imageshack.us/img148/7549/lydia20cole20toowoomba2.jpg [Broken]
    http://img148.imageshack.us/img148/4118/117988mainimagefeature3.jpg [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  13. Sep 23, 2009 #12
    What causes them just highwinds? I guess its similar to a whiteout around where I live (sometimes these occur with no snow storms occuring lol)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  14. Sep 23, 2009 #13

    sylas

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    The wikipedia seems to have a good introduction to the Causes of Dust Storms. Basically, yes. High winds. What was unusual in the recent Australian event was not just the high wind, but the weather conditions which allowed the storm to travel thousands of kilometers and reach the big urban centers.
     
  15. Oct 8, 2009 #14
    If you must know Almost all the outback dust in Australia contains a small amount of Vitamin C.
     
  16. Oct 8, 2009 #15

    Astronuc

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    and iron.
     
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