Drought-fueled dust storm blankets eastern Australia

An Australian dust storm reached parts of Sydney, with haze blanketing the city and outskirts.

    A large dust storm swirled over eastern Australia on Thursday, driven over the coast by a weather front barrelling across the drought-stricken interior.

    The storm is stretching about 500 kilometres across some parts of the state, reducing visibility in some outback towns to just metres, local media reported.

    Health officials warned residents of Sydney and other parts of New South Wales, who had respiratory or cardiovascular conditions, to limit their time outdoors until the dust settled.

    Adam Morgan of the Bureau of Meteorology said a low-pressure system moved over the states of South Australia and Victoria. In the process, it pushed strong winds across western parts of New South Wales that have experienced one of the worst drought seasons in years.

    "This is the typical time of year for dust storms through inland Australia, but it is quite rare for dust to reach the east coast," he said.

    Sydneysiders woke to find a haze over the city Thursday, but the air did clear by the afternoon.

     

    SOURCE: News agencies