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   Undertoad  Thursday Dec 5 01:23 PM

12/5/2002: Australian dust cloud

I have never experienced anything like this, have you? They've had some severe drought in New South Wales, and when high winds come up it can stir up a massive front of red dust.

Does everyone walk around with surgical masks on, or what?

hermit22  Thursday Dec 5 01:56 PM

Wow. The winds around my house can get pretty bad sometimes, but I've never seen a dust front.

blowmeetheclown  Thursday Dec 5 03:29 PM

Looks like Lubbock, though it probably doesn't smell like it. Yee-Haw!

theillegitimate  Thursday Dec 5 03:39 PM

This happened in Utah this last summer. Very high winds kicked up in the desert of central Utah caused a very similar occurance.

The wall of dust and dirt could be seen for 20 miles as it approached. When it it everything got very dark and very windy. About 30-40 seconds after it hit in our area we were nailed with a hugh downpour which flooded streets.

So... maybe this is a result of that naked rain dance I heard they were going to be doing over there.

BubbleSculptor  Thursday Dec 5 04:44 PM

Arizona, too!

We would get hellacious dust storms when I lived in Arizona, mostly in the south eastern corner in Willcox, though also happens in the central part of the state, too. Sometimes it's so dark approaching, it looks like a thunderstorm or rain cloud is coming. Then next thing you know it's near blackout condition of flying sand. It's actually pitted glass on car windshields and even blasts some paint off too.

Whenever these dust storms rolled across of the Interstate, I-10, all the out-of-state drivers who are unaware of the risks keep on driving, and eventually there are 100 car pile-ups. The locals know to drive way off the side of the road and wait for the storms to pass.

I used to work on some ostrich farms in the Arizona desert and when these sandstorms passed across the farm, I'd be in the middle of it working. Then when I get home there is sand in every pocket of your clothes, between your toes, ears, nose and other places I won't mention. It's crazy!

Torrere  Thursday Dec 5 08:30 PM


That is not something that I had possibly conceived of.

helen  Friday Dec 6 09:26 AM

Is this a regular thing for these folk ? The clean up would be horrible and the run on Q-tips would be incredible.

lawman  Friday Dec 6 01:22 PM

I was in Anchorage in the summer of '92 when Mt. Spurr erupted and sent millons of tons of ash into the atmosphere, and the wind brought it directly into downtown.

I recall walking over to the windows at a shopping mall, seeing this black wall approaching, in the middle of the day, it was rather unnerving. Walked outside just as it hit - it was eerily silent out and then BIG ash flakes (think of really heavy snowfall) started accumulating on the ground.

To make things worse, as people drove through it, it got kicked up even more... there was around 4 inches everywhere (and we were camping too.... yuck) and you couldn't find a dust mask anywhere...

we left the next day for Valdez, where they only had a dusting of ash.

<img src="">

jaguar  Sunday Dec 8 06:57 AM

These can be pretty nasty, but rare. A massive one of this size hit Melbourne (around 3million or so people) in '85, pics are stunning, everything was covered in a thick layer of red dust for months.

Never seen one myself but then again, the Australian Outback (tm) hold about as much appeal for me as digging out my eye with a rusty spoon.

chrisinhouston  Saturday Dec 14 09:57 AM

I have a friend in Australia who I sent a link to of this image and he sent me this reply:

"The town where this took place is Griffith, in the Riverina area of New South Wales (also know for it's Mafia connections, due to the Italian immigrants who settle there with their market gardens & wineries, etc. after W.W.II). It is a large irrigation area now, known as the fruit bowl of the state. They have had 3-4 dust storms in the past month just like this."

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