Sydney Sweeps Up After Massive Dust Storm

SYDNEY, Sept. 24 (UPI) — Australia’s largest city cleaned up after one massive dust storm Thursday as forecasters warned another one may be on the way.

The Bureau of Meteorology described the storm that hit Wednesday morning as the worst in at least 70 years. The dust cloud’s impact was greatest in Sydney but it darkened the skies over most of the east coast of the country from Melbourne to northern Queensland.

Water Minister Phil Costa eased restrictions in the Sydney area so residents and business owners could get the dust off cars and houses, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. The city deployed 100 sweepers Thursday morning to clean the streets.

The storm cost businesses in Sydney millions of dollars, with employees trapped in their homes by the cloud. But the dust was a boon to some, like Elliot Ban, owner of Crystal City Carwash, in the suburb of Rose Bay.

“It’s been crazy; we’ve just been inundated all day,” he said. “I’ve had to put on an extra 20 staff today and I expect that it’s going to keep up over the weekend as well.”

More dust could be on the way, The Australian reported. Forecasters said the same conditions in the drought-stricken interior that kicked up the dust are returning, although they said the coming storm will be less severe.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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