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Archive for Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Dust storm causes flight chaos, health worries

September 23, 2009

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— A pall of red dust blown in from the Outback clogged the skies over Sydney today, diverting international flights, disrupting public transport and prompting a spike in emergency calls from people suffering breathing difficulties.

No one was reported hurt as a result of dust storms sweeping a vast swath of eastern Australia, but officials closed ferry services on Sydney Harbour because visibility was cut to dangerous levels, and police in two states warned motorists to take extra care on the roads.

Such thick dust is a rarity over Australia’s largest city, and came along with whiplashing winds and other uncommon weather conditions across the country in recent days. Hailstorms have pummeled parts of the country this week, while other parts have been hit with an early spring mini-heatwave, and wildfires.

“It did feel like Armageddon because when I was in the kitchen looking out the skylight, there was this red glow coming through,” Sydney resident Karen told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.

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