News

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 brisbanetimes.com.au

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



Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Review lands Westpac helibase in Lismore for good

Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter pilot Marty Shepherd at the current Lismore base.

NO change of plans for future Westpac helibase

Lismore pensioner lost everything to African scammers

Robert Duffy was conned out of more than $6000 during an elaborate improvised scam by Africans on Facebook who gained his trust, lured him with promises of wealth and friendship, and then proceeded to extort repeat cash transactions from him.

“I should have had more sense.”

Alleged drug-dealing neighbours face court after raids

Eli Meyer-Milton, 33, of Bentley, and Nicholas George, 33, of Larnook, were both arrested and charged after police raids on Wednesday morning.

Ice, heroin, ecstasy, cannabis, gun and stolen car allegedly found.

Latest deals and offers

Scam victim shares his story

Lismore scam victim Robert Duffy has bravely spoken out about his experience at the...

Police sieze drugs and money in raids

Generic polic sign Photo Contributed

Police have seized drugs, money and ammunition in raids near Bentley and Larnook as...

Get ready for the Our Kids Winter Ball

Our Kids fundraising coordinator Rebekka Battista has her dress picked out for the...

Coastal development keeps young people on Northern Rivers

Wes Bale is a 27-year-old born and bred Lennox Head local who is an example of the demographic shift in the region.

Young Northern Rivers residents are looking closer to home

We’ve found 8 rentals available on the Northern Rivers

2/22 Sunnybank Drive, Ballina

It's obvious there is a rental shortage on the Northern Rivers