As if sprawling bushfires and violent hailstorms weren’t enough, to add insult to injury, vast dust storms engulfed large swathes of New South Wales in Australia to close out a weekend of intense weather.
Eyewitness video shows the huge dirt wall bearing down on poor Aussies who could only watch mouth agape (at least until the storm hit) before the entire area was blanketed in dust. Residents in the towns of Narromine, Parkes and Dubbo in New South Wales state could only look on in awe as the ominous cloud grew ever larger before it consumed them all.
Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology had issued severe thunderstorm and wind warnings over the weekend, as weather conditions aligned to generate massive walls of dust hundreds of feet high. Gusts reached up to 107kph in the town of Dubbo and 94kph in Parkes.
NASA’s MODIS satellites clocked the vast dust clouds gathering across the middle of the country since around January 11, owing to a prolonged period of drought, exacerbated by the recent bushfires which ravaged the country.
“The dust storms affecting central western New South Wales are a direct consequence of two years of drought and greatly diminished vegetative cover on the soil surface,” said Stephen Cattle, a soil scientist at the University of Sydney.
Elsewhere, rain and hail lashed other parts of Australia, with dozens of cars left riddled with holes after a monstrous hailstorm.