24.9°C 03:00 pm

Sky turned orange

Wednesday, 1st July, 2009

Locals were left to clean up the mess after another dust storm turned Broken Hill's sky into an orange haze yesterday.

The storm, which reduced visibility to 1,700 metres at its most severe, covered everything as it descended on the city around midday.

Motorists were forced to turn on their headlights and a Regional Express flight to Sydney - carrying visiting NSW Governor, Marie Bashir - was delayed for about 20 minutes.

Strong northerly winds that buffeted the city overnight on Monday continued into Tuesday morning, changing to northwesterly and westerly.

By mid to late morning the city was experiencing wind speeds of over 50km/h and wind gusts of nearly 80km/h.

The conditions also helped the city reach an unseasonably high maximum of 22 degrees yesterday.

The Bureau of Meteorology had issued a severe weather warming for the Broken Hill region for damaging winds.

The system responsible was an extensive low pressure system stretching from Western Australia, into the Great Australian Bight and into the central Australia and NSW.

The conditions were caused by a strong cold front across NSW with winds strengthening from the northwest ahead of the front.

Winds eased in Upper Western and Lower Western yesterday evening as the front continued moving to the east.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service recommended people consider postponing back country travel until conditions improve.

Country Energy said the bad weather caused no problems.

Area manager Guy Chick said although the winds were strong and gusty, they mainly raised dust and did not cause any power interruptions.

"Our crews were on alert should the winds have caused any interruptions, but luckily we did not experience any problems," Mr Chick said.

The State Emergency Service (SES) said a request to secure some loose sheets of roofing iron was their only call-out.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service said their clinic planes departed as usual and on schedule.

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