Thursday, September 24, 2009

Red Dust


Red Dust...

Australia is known
for its red centre
But yesterday
high winds
swept tonnes of sand and soil
off Lake Eyre Basin
in the heart of Australia
and sucked it 3km into the sky

the dust storm
swept up through three states
dragging up millions of tons of soil
the plume grew to 1500km long
and 400km wide
and overnight it
painted Sydney red

Harbour and air traffic
came to a stand still
and road traffic
was severely compromised

By the middle of the day
the now lightened clouds
had travelled over 1000km
to my capital city Brisbane

At 3pm
in my home town of Noosa
120 km north of Brisbane
the hot North winds
were replaced by the South Eastern
dust laden clouds

This is a rare phenomena
but not unknown

Australia has experienced
the second driest winter on record
soils were loose
and flew off the land
at 140,000 tonnes an hour

We closed all windows
and taking these pictures
the dust filled by nostrils
and made me smell
and taste dirt
for the remainder of the day

it sent the Brahminy kites
into a bit of a frenzy

By 4pm the dust pall
had thickened

what can you see from up there

my views became
sepia coloured

overnight the clouds blew
over the coast
and out to sea

heading for New Zealand
I will ring my Mother later
and see if they arrived
as scheduled

today the skies
were pristine clear
and the ocean still
and gently glistening

It was a glorious day
to set out early for a walk
before the temperatures reached 29*C

It was a day of
a great grandaddy goanna

and dead batteries

ah well...
It was still a blessed day

Australia is certainly
a land of contrasts

the first four photos come from Ninemsn



  1. I'm glad the extreme weather has already abated and that you're back to the usual clarity. I had heard about the dust storms and your post made their impact more real for me. The photos of Noosa looked antiqued in Photoshop, but I guess that's how it actually looked.

  2. Wonders DownUnder, Delwyn!
    You capture it better than CNN.
    Wishig you all the best,
    Pacific Sister

    Comfort Spiral

  3. Hi Dan

    My photos are SOC just as I saw it...but you would think I have tinted them. I watched a video from one of the southern towns, showing the red cloud moving left to right across the screen and then the sky turned black like in an eclipse.

    Incredible nature...

    Happy days

  4. Hello Pacific sister...

    Lady of the should have been here to see these ones...

    Happy days

  5. Wow, that is incredible! I have seen pictures of dust storms but never with the red soil. It's amazing how clear the following day was.
    Sunny :)

  6. Certainly a land of contrasts! I nearly posted on this myself; glad you did. Aren't those pics of Sydney great!

    We had a dust storm a couple of years back and must have had half of Mildura dumped on us and I had just washed my windows! Red dust clung for days.

  7. Hi, live in the Blue Mts of NSW and yesterday was dreadful. I heard on the radio today, that the red dust is actually iron ore.. coming from Northern Territory I wasn't far wrong in saying I had Uluru in my swimming pool.
    every single surface was covered in red dust.. and some still is..
    and the wind was eerie, there were trees and rocks flying across the roads like butterflies.

  8. Hi Delwyn

    We were following the red dust phenomenon on our BBC news bulletins. I wondered if you would be getting some of it and now I know.

    Nice to have a measured record of the event. The way you tell it, makes it real and not like a Sci-Fi 'B' movie.

    Great photographs, as usual.

  9. I'm glad it's all over for you! It looks eerie and frightening...

  10. Hi there Sunny

    Fortunately most of the red had been dropped by the time it reached here although today I noticed a layer on all the cars in town...

    and yes today was clearer than clear - like a giant vacuum had sucked the skies completely clear of debris...

    Happy days

  11. Hi Alaine

    I had a few inquiries yesterday in the comment boxes about the dust storm and had also taken my photos so what is a girl to do....

    How did this storm affect you?

    Happy days

  12. Hello Miss R from NSW

    how nice of you to drop in...thank you for adding your story ...we had very little wind here...I think the energy of the storm had raced North before filtering eastwards towards the ocean...It made its way right up to Nthn Qld...

    thanks for the visit...I'll drop by later...

    Happy days

  13. Hello Martin

    My friend who lives 3 hours south of me on the Gold Coast was telling me of the layer of red dust all through her home even though she had sealed it completely...and a new friend Miss R above, tells of her pool turning red. I also saw a picture of the snowfields in Victoria with pink tinted slopes...

    thanks for calling by

    Happy days

  14. Hi Jelica

    we only felt the last puffs of the fiery red dragon's breath...and escaped with only a little rusty dust as a reminder of his powers...

    Thanks for your concern Jelica...

    Happy days

  15. hi delwyn, i read about the dust storm on the bbc site and wondered how all that soil and sand that settles, is removed? it would surely coat all living and non-living things. i also wondered about all the animals - especially the flying ones. there of course is the kite - bravely floundering through it all!!!! have a lovely clear evening by the river delwyn/ steven

  16. Watching the news of the red dust storm in Australia brought thoughts of you Delwyn...It certainly produced eerie photos. I'm sure Sydney might take a while to clean up...but Noosa escaped that problem apparently. Your photos of the shoreline and ocean afterward were so clear and clean...personally I really dislike dust of anykind!

    Smiles always,

  17. Hi Steven

    good question...I suppose a lot must get flushed into the storm water drains. Brisbane, which usually has tough water restrictions, is having a 'wet' weekend, meaning everyone can hose down cars and houses without fear of fines...

    Happy days

  18. Hi Wanda

    Steven has got me thinking about that layer of dust in Sydney and where it ends up...

    Yes Wanda, no matter what you do when you turn around it has come back again ...dang dust...I pretend not to see it...

    There are few things I hate in life but one of them is vacuuming...I detest the noise of rarely do it...fortunately I can sweep most of the floors and we live in a 'shoes off' home so get little dirt inside...and have no pets now that all adds up to an easy home to keep clean...

    thanks for your concern Wanda

    Happy days

  19. Saw the red dust on a T.V. news clipping. It must have been frightening, so glad it has cleared.

  20. Hi Noosa's best ever reporter! Im glad that the sand storm went away and you did not have to hide from it for a long time.I was olso thinking of all animals,how they get trough this,can they spitt? :O)Or wipe their little eyes of from dirth? I imagine that this is olso a way for lots of different seeds to spread around the country and so you get more beautiful plants in Wallum.
    It is powerful movement of mother nature and Im glad when mama is not that harsh to her children.:O)
    Happy days and nights,Aleksandra

  21. That it 29 degrees I'm jealous as it gone back to winter here. Looks like it's going to be a cold day for the Grand Final.

    I saw the dust storm on the news and some awesome photos on Flickr.
    I didn't know it reached all the way up to you.

  22. Oh my - how long will it take Sydney to clean up? What a phenomenon!! While interesting to look at, you have to wonder if it is not part of the climate change the world is experiencing. Drought, fires, floods, extremes in temps., etc.

    And imagine the little nostrils of tiny creatures and birds . . . I'm sure there will be more reports on the effects of this on Australia.

    Thanks for an excellent report Delwyn!

  23. This is my first visit to your blog...linked here from my friend Robyn. I've scrolled and scrolled and stayed way too long but I couldn't help it. Your photos, your thoughts, are beautiful. Thanks for sharing it all. I'll be back!

  24. Hello Judie

    welcome to my corner of the world, albeit a dusty one today...

    Thank you for your generous comments. I look forward to sharing more time with you...

    Happy days

  25. Hi Bonnie

    lots of water I suppose...I wonder if the birds flew off before it arrived...but what about all the new nests...oh dear...but nature has its ways...

    Happy days

  26. Hi Liss

    yes we have been having warm days even 32*...

    Big day this weekend Huh?

    The clouds of dust went right up to the north of Qld... amazing isn't it...

    Happy days

  27. Hello Leks

    I wonder who ends up with all that topsoil that was stripped...
    and how do the animals cope...

    that's a good point you made about the pollination of seeds...
    You are a bit of a thinker Leks...I like that...

    Happy days

  28. Hi Ann

    fortunately we only received a layer of dust unlike Sydney and southern towns which were painted thickly in the red sand and soil particles...

    Happy days

  29. This is truly a case of "what a difference a day makes". I was reading about this last night on the news (online newspaper) and wondered about you and how this had affected you. Seeing the photos of the birds it made me "realize" that it wouldn't just be the people who were affected by this -- birds and animals as well.

  30. Wow, Delwyn! This is one natural phenomenon that I'd never heard of. The red photos are amazing, although I'm sure it wasn't amazing to those in the dust storm. I wish they'd have put that on the news here. Thank for keeping us informed on your wonderful, beautiful and mysterious Australia. Blessings!

  31. Amazing photos. I'm glad that the dust didn't stay too long. I've only seen dust like that once, in the desert in Utah on vacation last March. I later learned that the dust had been blown over my home in Colorado while I was away, leaving the ski slopes reddish colored, with dust embedded in them.

    Thanks for the beautiful photos.

  32. Wow, all that dirt blown away. Those pictures were amazing. We don't have dust storms like that here but out in West Texas they get them. Also reminds me of pictures my son sent back from Iraq of the dust storms there. Over there you can see it coming, a towering wall of dust and sand, impenetrable.

  33. What a difference a day can make Delwyn.

    Dear friend I know that your Dad has been sick and I just want you to know that I have him in my prayers.

    Love Renee xoxo

  34. Your river looks beautiful and what a great place for stand up paddling! I was relieved to hear you don't have crocodiles there and glad to know the dust storm has moved on.

    We had the worst fire storms in California history 2 years ago. We are 2 miles from where it was burning and everything was covered with ash. People were wearing particle masks to go outside, the sun was obscured - quite incredible.

  35. Wow...I've never seen anything like that!

  36. Hi Betsy

    My first dust storm too...

    Happy days

  37. Hi Gw

    Yes I just have to step off the deck and onto the excuse not to get out paddling...

    I always watch the fires in California knowing from Au experience how devastating they can be...

    Happy days

  38. Thank you sweet and kind Renee

    Happy days

  39. Hi Ellen

    It must be horrible to be in the storm. I read today of a man whose open truck broke down on a desert sandy track and he shielded himself inside his swag using his long beard as a filter to breath through...

    He feared that he would be buried and lost in the sand...fortunately he had an emergency beacon...

    Happy days

  40. Hi KB

    I did see some pics of pink ski slopes...

    Happy days

  41. Hi Marion

    I am glad that I am able to keep you in touch with Au...both the magic and the mystery...

    Happy days

  42. Hi Sherry

    These comments have also made me think more about all the birds, insects and small wildlife that would have suffered...and then there is the rain to wash it away...

    Happy days

  43. Delwyn as long as you and yours are OK! What an incredible sight but how terrible too. Hopefully there is not too much hangover from all of this! How does this affect the wildlife? Thank goodness it cleared quickly!

  44. Hi Delwyn,

    I'm happy to see that the air has cleared again in your part of Australia. The pictures I've seen of the red and golden dust, here on television and on your blog, are fascinating. What an strange place this planet truly is.

    Happy Day to you!


  45. Hi Lorac

    I think there is going to be a lot of car washing and house washing going on this weekend...
    I suppose the wildlife have their ways...

    Happy days

  46. Hi Angela

    It was an amazing thing to experience , like an eclipse...I still smell dust each time I think about it...

    Happy days Angela

  47. It must have been horrible for anyone with breathing issues. I saw on the news that even young, healthy athletes were gasping for air in the height of the dust storm in Sydney. It looks as if it were more dilute in Noosa, thank goodness.

  48. Hi Meri

    why anyone would go out jogging in that I do not know...

    Many asthmatics had a bad day...

    Happy days

  49. Amazing clouds of dust, and I'm sure no fun to breathe that air. Glad things have cleared now.

  50. Hi Janie

    the weather forecast tonight friday says the dust is going to return this weekend although not as heavy as before...

    I imagine we'll have some cleaning to do...

    Happy days

  51. It makes you wonder, doesn't it? The photos are fantastic and yet they are about nature at its most frantic and dramatic. Contrasts, you have to love contrasts.

    Greetings from London.

  52. That's how it must be in the Sahara Desert, only no place to run. The orange and sepia prints are just incredible. Did you call your Mum? Did she get it the next day? (btw, I've been showing some relatives around New York and missed a few posts. Am trying to catch up.) xxox Hope you had a face mask!

  53. Hi Delwyn,
    Sepia somehow makes it sound much nicer, but your descriptions bring the taste of dirt to my tongue and the smell to my nose. My nose even feels clogged with red dirt! As always your way with words and with the shutter amaze us all!


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