The dust storm creates an eery sight over Lismore.
The dust storm creates an eery sight over Lismore.

Dust blankets North Coast

THE dust storm sweeping up the the east coast of Australia struck the North Coast around 9am this morning.

Flights in and out of Lismore were cancelled and the North Coast Rugby Union carnival, involving around 250 school children, was called off an hour into play to protect the children's health

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

"After a big run, it was getting very hard to get my breath back," he said.

Cafes in Lismore said trade was down, but die-hard smokers still insisted on sitting outside in the storm.

Murray, 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."

At the Lismore Race track, trainer Owen Glue was inspecting his horses ahead of the Lismore Cup.

"It's not good for them to be breathing this in the day before the race, but at least all the horses are in the same situation so we won't be disadvantaged," he said.

Police from Tweed-Byron Local Area Command have issued warnings to local drivers.

"In a dust storm visibility is seriously reduced and drivers will need to slow down and switch on their lights," Tweed/Byron Commander Superintendent Michael Kenny said in a statement.

"I am especially concerned as many roads within the command are110km-signposted and a high proportion of drivers are visitors to the area, which increases the potential risk to motorists.

"We urge drivers to take responsibility, slow down, and drive to the conditions," he said.

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