North Coast chokes in dust

The dust storm and strong winds caused planes to be diverted from Lismore airport.
The dust storm and strong winds caused planes to be diverted from Lismore airport. Cathy Adams/Jay Cronan

THE DUST storm that enveloped the North Coast yesterday at one point stretched to Mount Isa and caused humidity at Ballina to plummet to an almost unheard of minus 2 per cent.

Every drop of water was sucked from the air by the dry continental air mass, prompting the Rural Fire Service to declare a total fire ban.

Like a giant snowball it grew as it travelled, blowing close to 16,000 tonnes of dust across the coast every hour.

The dust was expected to be cleared this morning in time for this afternoon's Lismore Cup.

Flights at Lismore airport were cancelled for most of the day, as visibility fell to 700 metres. Ballina airport stayed open, but flights were delayed.

A North Coast rugby union carnival, involving more than 300 school children was called off after an hour of play, on advice from the NSW Health Department.

Xavier College student Dietmar Sobczak, aged 13, said he was relieved to be off the field as breathing was becoming increasingly difficult.

Lismore cafes said trade was down as residents opted to stay indoors.

Murray (who declined to give his surname), a tourist from Queensland, was seen walking the streets of Lismore wearing an industrial respirator mask.

“I usually only wear this for painting,” he said. “I was just lucky it was in the car.”

Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Ewan Mitchell said strong winds caused by a cold front began picking up dust in north-east South Australia on Tuesday. Overnight the front, generating winds of 100km/h, collected more dust in drought-affected western NSW.

“The storm moved west to east, meaning you didn't get the same dust as Sydney,” he said.

“The Sydney dust moved out into the Tasman Sea. Your dust originated further north, although it was the same system,” he said.

The storm hit the North Coast around 9am, four-and-a-half hours after it struck Sydney.

Mr Mitchell said he had no idea of the volume of inland dust blown across the continent, but he was philosophical.

"I think they still have plenty of dirt,” he said.

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

Read more ...

Dust storm engulfs NSW, Qld

Asthma warning over dust storm

Sunshine Coast fires rage

Qld fire ban begins

View photos of the dust storm over Brisbane on

Check out what they're saying about the dust storm on Twitter

MP: 'This animal is going to cost society millions'

Kevin Hogan MP for Page.

Kevin Hogan considers capital punishment in case of monster parents

This weekend's Northern Rivers markets list

Where to get fresh coffee and local produce from...

Win an iPad: Have your say on recycled water

17/08/06 159020a Water Glasses for Saturday's cost of water story.

Have your say on Ballina Shire Council's new recycled water service

Local Partners

Car chases and ducks, all in a day's work at cafe

ANYONE who has travelled the Pacific Highway between Sydney and Brisbane would know of the Parkside Cafe at Woodburn.

This weekend's Northern Rivers markets list

Where to get fresh coffee and local produce from...

What's fresh at your local farmers' market

One of the most unusual things about the jaboticaba is the way it grows directly on the trunk and branches of the tree, covering it with shiny round fruit. PHOTO: KATE O'NEILL

Brazilian tree grapes and take home stir fries some new offerings

Stunning orchids on show in Lismore tomorrow morning

ONE of the magical orchids in show at Lismore Central at this year's Northern Rivers Orchid Species Society annual show.

Nature's most exotic works of art on show

Greg and Christine find a new (gold) lease on life

Christine and Greg Clark star in the TV series Aussie Gold Hunters.

COUPLE reckons there’s nothing like finding your first gold nugget.

Race facts and stats a winning combination

Impress colleagues with Melbourne Cup trivia

Birdy's voice soars during concert

English singer Birdy proves her skill during a recent concert.

The singer, 20, has acquired mythical status in the music world

Miley Cyrus finally confirms engagement to Liam Hemsworth

Liam Hemsworth and Miley Cyrus.

Eccentric singer confirms long-held rumour

Former Oasis frontman threw popcorn at his brother

The Gallagher brothers have famously feuded for many years.

Oasis brothers still haven't made up

OUR SAY: Why musicians should be called 'tradies'

Should bands be paid every time they play? Journalist and musician Tom Gillespie thinks so.

We need to change the way we think about musicians.

Want to own one of Australia's best restaurants?

TOP GONG: Mooloolaba Spice Bar has been named in TripAdvisor's Top 10 Australian restaurants for 2016.

Here's your chance to pick up one of the Coast's favourite eateries

Tough times in CBD: Woolies says goodbye Ipswich

Woolworths in the Ipswich Mall.Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

The last day of trading will be January 1

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!