Sydney and Canberra could cop a dust storm to rival the infamous ‘red dawn’ of 2009 tomorrow arvo, according to the people who know the most about the weather, our beloved Bureau of Meteorology.
Y’all remember that one right? The one that grounded flights and turned the whole city, even the Opera House, the shade of a very cheap, very mid-’00s fake tan.
Strong winds and a widespread cold front tomorrow are expected to blow across the drought-stricken Murray Darling Basin, sending the bright outback dust as far as the coast.
A forecaster from BoM, Anita Pyne, explained the situation to The Guardian:
Western NSW and SA have been in such bad drought conditions that the soil is super dry – in some places as dry as it can get. And with less vegetation due to the drought, there is also more exposed soil. It doesn’t take as much.
There is a cold front beginning to push in and bringing with it strong winds. For tomorrow we are forecasting strong to gale force winds in parts of western NSW and, if it lifts dust higher up into the atmosphere, as this system tracks east, it will bring the dust with it.
Mild dust storm in Broken Hill. pic.twitter.com/sR1jFrXFIx
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NSW towns like Broken Hill and Wagga Wagga are already suffering from dust storms.
Pyne also said the storms would deffo hit western regional centres and could even make it as far as Sydney, but she couldn’t pinpoint exactly how severe a potential storm could be on the orange scale:
The winds are strong and the conditions are favourable so we can’t rule it out. But it might not happen. We might see a little pinkish glow in the sky, it might be an annoying haze, or it could be a full-on dust storm.
If it arrives at all, Pyne says it’s likely to turn up in the afternoon.
“We’re going to just keep watching the dust cloud on the satellite imagery. The winds are definitely ramping up into tomorrow afternoon and will be more likely as tomorrow progresses.”
A fire warning for NSW has also been issued due to the strong, dry winds.
— From The Archives (@AgeSMH_Archives) November 21, 2018