Sydney Morning Herald

Hot, gusty winds bring dust cloud to Sydney

Sydney Morning Herald logo Sydney Morning Herald 13/02/2019 0:15:00 Rachel Clun

Video provided by Nine News

Strong winds have brought a dusty haze to Sydney and the east coast of NSW, reducing the air quality to hazardous in some areas.

Weatherzone warned the air quality may deteriorate in some areas before it improves when a change moves through later on Wednesday.

a group of people in a city: Dust fills the air as a fitness group gather at Dudley Page Reserve in Dover Heights. © Kate GeraghtyDust fills the air as a fitness group gather at Dudley Page Reserve in Dover Heights. Weatherzone meteorologist Graeme Brittain said hot, dry, gusty north-westerly winds have brought the dust to the coast.

"It picked up the dust lying on the ground and then has vectored it - moved it - south-eastwards across NSW so it has arrived over Sydney over the last several hours," he said.

Mr Brittain said the dust, which moved across Canberra on Tuesday afternoon, was also affecting air quality across the state.

A satellite map of Australia shows dust (in pink) approaching Sydney on Wednesday. © Regional and Mesoscale Meteorology BranchA satellite map of Australia shows dust (in pink) approaching Sydney on Wednesday.

The air quality in the Albury and Wagga Wagga areas was twice the level considered to be hazardous on Wednesday morning, according to the Office of Environment and Heritage.

The Illawarra region recorded an air quality index value of 207, while Sydney's south-west recorded a very poor reading of 196 between 5 and 6am. A good value is considered between 34 and 66.

Sydney's north-west, the lower Hunter and upper Hunter regions had poor air quality and Sydney's east was fair, however Mr Brittain said conditions there could worsen before they improve.

"We could expect a deterioration in Sydney's east in the next few hours before it improves," he said.

The meteorologist said the dust is expected to hang over the city for most of the morning, but conditions are forecast to improve later in the day as the strong cold front moving across the south-east of Australia moves further north and east.

a car driving down a street: Dust blanketed Canberra on Tuesday afternoon, before strong winds moved the dust towards the coast and Sydney. © Sitthixay DitthavongDust blanketed Canberra on Tuesday afternoon, before strong winds moved the dust towards the coast and Sydney.

"We're seeing a ridge of high pressure build across the south-east of Australia in the system's wake, and that's moving clearer, fresher air across NSW, across the Sydney area, so probably by this evening we'll see a marked increase in improving air quality," Mr Brittain said.

The hot, dry and gusty winds have also made conditions difficult for firefighters battling two large out-of-control bushfires in the state's north-east.

Rural Fire Service Deputy Commissioner Rob Rodgers confirmed a number of properties have been lost as crews continue to fight the fires at Tabulam and Tingha.

There were more than 43 fires burning across NSW on Wednesday morning, and nine of those remain uncontained.

13. helmikuuta 2019 2:15:00 Categories: Liverpool Echo Sydney Morning Herald

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