It was the day of the 'Sydney Dust Storm' however the dust travelled far and wide, it was measured at 500km wide, and 1,000km long at one point, and it was visible from space.
I remember I had just checked the progress of one of the overdue pregnant mares, and saw an odd orange hue in the sky, my immediate thought was bushfire, but I couldn't smell anything, so I jumped on the quad bike and drove round the farm seeing if there was any threat.
The dust got heavier, and it was an 'orange out', at one stage I couldn't see more than a meter or so in front of me, checking the mares in the foaling yards, I had to virtually stand next to them to see them clearly.
Once I had done the rounds and realised there wasn't any danger I jumped online in the office, and saw that the dust was everywhere, some of the footage from Sydney Harbour was just surreal.
|The farm at 6am on 'dust storm' day|
The CSIRO estimated that the storm carried some 16 million tonnes of dust from the deserts of Central Australia, and during the peak of the storm, the Australian continent was estimated to be losing 75,000 tonnes of dust per hour off the NSW coast north of Sydney. The dust storm coincided with other extreme weather conditions which affected the cities of Adelaide and Melbourne.
While the cloud was visible from space, on the ground the intense red-orange colour and drop in temperature drew comparisons with nuclear winter, Armageddon, and the planet Mars. The dust storm was described by the Bureau of Meteorology as a "pretty incredible event" that was the worst in the state of New South Wales in nearly 70 years. The phenomenon was reported around the world. The Weather Channel's Richard Whitaker said: "This is unprecedented. We are seeing earth, wind and fire together".
Some of the thousands of tons of dirt and soil lifted in the dust storm were dumped in Sydney Harbour and the Tasman Sea. This increased the nitrogen and phosphate levels in the water significantly. Measurements taken two weeks after the event indicated an explosion of microscopic plant life which can be expected lead to an increase in fish numbers.
It definitely is an interesting world we live in!
Till next time,