Strong winds could bring a dust storm across NSW with the possibility of a blanket of red haze hitting Sydney and Canberra as early as today.
Forecasters are closely monitoring a system headed towards the state and associated high winds that could possibly pick up masses of loose dust caused by drought conditions.
#Dust now visible from space in the far west – appearing in the red circle near Broken Hill. See latest satellite imagery at https://t.co/RolQDeIQTl. Best way to spot the dust is by looping the Day+Night image. #NSWweather pic.twitter.com/VaqXXFmXfT
— Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales (@BOM_NSW) November 21, 2018
“The strong winds associated with this dry soil, with a lack of vegetation, are the perfect conditions to pick up the dust, lift it up into the atmosphere and bring it east with the winds,” said Anita Pyne, a forecaster for Bureau of Meteorology.
“If it does happen it could have big impact. Dust storms can affect transport and even stop planes from landing.”
A spokesperson for Airservices Australia has said that Sydney airport has advanced procedures to allow for landing and taking off in low visibility conditions.
However, if the conditions are to worsen it is possible that flights could see delays.
Parts of southwest NSW have already experienced dust storms this week with Griffith covered in dust on Tuesday.
It’s currently unknown if this weather event will be as severe as the dust storm that hit Sydney in 2009, but warnings will be issued if that is the case.
“We really have to wait and see,” said Ms Pyne.
According to The Australian, Health authorities issued an air quality warning last night urging people to limit their time outside today.
The dust storm could cause eye irritation and coughing, and it is especially important for children and elderly people to stay indoors when possible.
There is also a severe fire danger on Thursday for the Greater Hunter region and increase the danger in the Sydney and Illawarra area.