Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Red in the Morning

Sunrise from our front verandah

What's that saying?
“Red in the morning, sailor's warning ... ”

Well, what a morning! We awoke to an unusual silence and a deep red-lit haze as a dust storm swept across New South Wales and Queensland.

Now, as some people calling our local radio station advised, this dust storm was nothing compared to those experienced in Dubbo (and other country towns) or Dubai (from which one caller had just returned). However there has not been a comparable storm in Sydney since 1939, or thereabouts.

Our house
Tony had a business meeting in Melbourne so he had to venture out into the swirling muck. Red dust was everywhere: in the trains and inside the airport terminal. People were standing at Central station wrapped up in masks and mufflers to filter the dust. His plane almost arrived from Canberra but the pilot couldn't land and had to return to Canberra. He and his colleague were advised that their flight was now delayed to 10:00am and they had an 11:00am meeting. They ended up returning to the office and arranging a teleconference. Just as well, because their flight was eventually cancelled.

Luckily, it was my day off and the dogs and I spent the day sheltering inside. Draught excluders under the door kept a lot of the dust out but I'm sure there is still dust coming through the pet door, the chimneys and the floorboards. I can see a thin layer of dust and Chi fur over our floors and slate tiles punctuated by my bare footprints. And our cleaner just came yesterday!

We had clean washing hanging out on portable clothes lines out the back. Gale force winds knocked them over during the night so the washing is tinged with red. The outdoor setting and the barbecue are covered in red dust, and the car, already dirty from our trip to Cowra, now has another, finer and more even layer of dirt.

About mid-afternoon, the sky started to clear but the winds picked up again this evening and everything was stirred up again. The air inside our house seems more oppressive (although Tony assures me it isn't as bad as outside) and the dust is starting to irritate our noses, throats and eyes. Even Chi has been sneezing with the dust in the carpet.

The storm was the main topic on the radio all day. Richard Glover even cancelled one segment so Shannon Lush could provide her tips and answer questions for the big cleanup that is required. The answer to everything seemed to be pantyhose!

It looks like Tony and I will be busy cleaning on this weekend. All I have to remember to do tomorrow is brush the dust off the car before I go to work. Otherwise, if it rains like it did in some suburbs today, I'm going to have red mud!

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