Dust storm hits Fraser Coast

The Mary River as yesterday's dust storm reaches the Heritage City.
The Mary River as yesterday's dust storm reaches the Heritage City. Alistair Brightman

FROM the outback of South Australia to the streets of the Fraser Coast came a dust storm that had everyone talking.

Businesses shut up shop and residents rushed to close windows as red dust rolled up the coast and into Tiaro, Maryborough and then Hervey Bay Wednesday afternoon.

A vigorous trough system in northern South Australia near Lake Eyre whipped up 100kmh winds that grabbed hold of dry land and pushed dust toward Sydney early on Tuesday afternoon.

Wednesday strong south-westerly winds carried it up the east coast over Brisbane and then here.

It is not known how long the dust storm will blanket the Fraser Coast, however it could continue another day.

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Tony Auden said dust storms could hang around for days in western regions but usually disappeared after a day or two when near the coast.

The moisture in the air and winds in coastal areas generally pushed dust out to sea, he said.

That may not be the case this time; the sky could soon blush red to our north-west with predictions the storm will make its way to the Gulf of Carpentaria.

The reason the dust has travelled so far already, Mr Auden said, is because of low rainfall and high temperatures across the country this year.

Maryborough resident Tammy Dunlop noticed the storm about 3.30pm Wednesday and rushed home from work to check on her five show horses. They were all in their stables but Ms Dunlop placed a dab of Vicks Vapo-Rub in each of their nostrils to help with their breathing.

She described the air as thick and said she could smell and taste the dust.

The storm also affected owner of The Gardenia Restaurant Maureen Clarkson who closed her Maryborough cafe half an hour early because the city had turned into a ghost town.

North-westerly winds reached 56kmh on the Fraser Coast Wednesday before turning south-westerly and dropping to 15 to 20kmh late in the afternoon.

Winds are expected to stay at speeds of around 15 to 20kmh for the rest of the week.

Thursday they will swing from south-westerly to south-easterly/north-easterly.

Got photos of the dust storm? Email us your photos.

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