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Second dust storm hits Sydney, Australia

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A dust storm has hit Sydney, Australia, the second such storm in a matter of days.

A dust storm blows over Sydney on September 23.
Image: Merbabu.

People awoke to find the sky red and yellow after winds stirred up dust and began to blow it across the greater Sydney region. According to the New South Wales Department of Environment, the storm was estimated to have started at around 4:00 a.m.–5:00 local time. Long droughts in Australia recently have made the soil very dry.

The new storm has not caused any damage and was not as severe as the one that struck the area earlier in the week. People who have difficulties with breathing are advised to stay indoors as the air could be hazardous for those with heart or lung conditions. Wednesday's storm lasted nearly eight hours, stretched for 350 miles across the coast and could be seen from space. Satellite pictures taken during Saturday's storm had shown a band of dust 125 miles (200 kilometres) wide, stretching from the central part of Australia towards the east coast, with visibility in the area reduced to just 500 metres.

Referring to Wednesday's storm, Australian weather forecaster Barry Hanstrum said, "we've got an area of widespread dust but not as thick as it was on Wednesday. It's likely to clear through the metropolitan area through mid-morning." The weather bureau for Australia said that dust storms were created by high-speed and wild winds, causing the dust to spread to Queensland and New South Wales.


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