Dust Storm Cloud Moves on After Choking Sydney Australia

SYDNEY, Sept. 23 (UPI) — The worst dust storm since the 1940s hit Sydney and Brisbane and blew far up the Australian east coast Wednesday.

By Thursday morning, the weather had cleared in the major cities, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported. But observers noticed the dust at the airport in Cairns hundreds of miles to the north of Brisbane by midnight Wednesday.

Brett Harrison, a forecaster with the Bureau of Meteorology, said Brisbane might experience more dust Sunday, the Brisbane Times reported. He said the storm would be far milder than the one that hit Wednesday, the worst in the city since the 1940s.

Most of the dust was heading toward Norfolk Island, far to the east of Australia.

Deryn Griffiths of the Bureau of Meteorology told ABC extreme drought in central Australia probably caused the storm. High winds picked up the dust two days ago and blew it east toward Sydney.

“It started in South Australia and has since extended across all of New South Wales and into Queensland,” she said.

The dust is expected to blow hundreds of miles to New Zealand. Samuel Marx, a climatologist with the University of Queensland, told ABC its impact may be most noticeable on the ski slopes.

“Most of the dust gets rained out on the west coast,” he said. “It’s quite common to see red dust deposited through the New Zealand snowfields.”

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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