Suffolk man's account of Oz dust storm

A SUFFOLK man holidaying in Australia has described the orange dust cloud that descended over Sydney yesterday.

A SUFFOLK man holidaying in Australia has described the orange dust bowl that descended over Sydney yesterday.

Brad Jones, news editor of the East Anglian Daily Times, said he woke at 5.30am to find a strange orange glow coming through the window.

The pall of red dust had blown in from the Outback and was so severe flights were diverted, public transport was disrupted and emergency services witnessed a peak of calls from people suffering breathing difficulties.

Mr Jones, 36, from Rushmere St Andrew, said: “I wasn't sure what it was, but it was surreal - like an orange fog.

“We couldn't see the harbour bridge out of the hotel window, usually it is clear as day.

“It was only when we put the news on that we realised what was going on. It was quite eerie outside, lots of people were wearing face masks and everything was covered in thick dust. They were recommending people with respiratory problems to take extra precautions, so there was no chance of going for a run, and all the flights and ferries were cancelled for a little while. It wasn't too uncomfortable walking around in it, although it did aggravate my eyes.

Most Read

“But it was a really windy day so by about midday it seemed to have blown away and the city was completely back to normal.”

No one was reported hurt as a result of dust storms sweeping a vast swath of eastern Australia, but officials closed ferry services on Sydney Harbour because visibility was cut to dangerous levels, and police in two states warned motorists to take extra care on the roads.

Dust storms were reported along Australia's heavily populated eastern coast, from Ulladulla, south of Sydney, to Brisbane, about 620 miles north.

Other areas in the southeast were hit earlier this week.

The storms - visible as a huge brown smudge in satellite photographs of Australia on Wednesday - are the most severe since the 1940s, experts said.

International flights to Sydney were being diverted to other state capitals because of visibility problems caused by the dust.

Officials said particle pollution in Sydney's air was the worst on record, and the New South Wales state ambulance service said it had received more than 250 calls before midday from people suffering breathing problems.