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September 23, 2009

Dust storm in Australia

A huge outback dust storm - 500 km (310 mi) wide by 1,000 km (620 mi) long - swept across eastern Australia and blanketed Sydney on Wednesday, September 23rd, disrupting flights and ground transportation and forcing people indoors for shelter from the hazardous air, gale-force winds, and in some places hailstorms. Those few who ventured outside, especially at dawn, were greeted by a Martian sky, familiar landmarks blotted out by the heavy red dust blowing by. Collected here are a few photos of the worst dust storm Sydney has seen in 70 years, three of which you can click to see a before/after fade effect. (26 photos total)

A man walks his dog through Observatory Hill near Sydney on September 23, 2009 as Australia's biggest city is shrouded in an eerie blanket of red dust. Sydney's cars and buildings turned orange as strong winds blew desert dust across the city, snarling commuter and air transport and prompting a warning for children and the elderly to stay indoors. (GREG WOOD/AFP/Getty Images)

A satellite view of the dust storm covering much of eastern Australia from NASA's MODIS Terra satellite on September 23, 2009. (NASA/JPL) #

A dust storm blankets Sydney's iconic Opera House at sunrise September 23, 2009. (REUTERS/Tim Wimborne) #

[Click on this image to see it fade]  An overlay of two images of boats passing under the Sydney Harbour Bridge, photographed at 6:00 am (dusty) and 12:15 pm (clear) on September 23, 2009, click to see a transition. (REUTERS/Tim Wimborne) #

[Click on this image to see it fade]  An overlay of two images of the Sydney central business district skyline, photographed at 6:30 am (dusty) and 12:45 pm (clear) on September 23, 2009, click to see a transition. (REUTERS/Tim Wimborne) #

[Click on this image to see it fade]  An overlay of two images of Sydney's iconic Opera House, photographed at 6:15 am (dusty) and 12:30 pm (clear) on September 23, 2009, click to see a transition. (REUTERS/Tim Wimborne) #

A man wears a scarf as a mask in the central business district on September 23, 2009 in Sydney, Australia. (Brendon Thorne/Getty Images) #

A car is covered in dust following a dust storm in Sydney, Australia, on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2009. (Jack Atley/Bloomberg) #

A woman covers her face as she walks through the central business district of Sydney as it is shrouded in an eerie blanket of dust on September 23, 2009. (GREG WOOD/AFP/Getty Images) #

A woman takes a photograph with the Sydney Opera House shrouded in dust behind her on September 23, 2009. (GREG WOOD/AFP/Getty Images) #

Traffic makes its way off the Sydney Harbour Bridge on September 23, 2009 as Australia's biggest city is shrouded in a blanket of red dust. (GREG WOOD/AFP/Getty Images) #

The Sydney Opera House (barely visible at left) and the Sydney Harbour Bridge are seen during a dust storm on September 23, 2009 in Sydney, Australia. (Matt Blyth/Getty Images) #

Dust covers the surface of the Sydney Opera House following a dust storm, in Sydney, Australia, on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2009. (Jack Atley/Bloomberg) #

A photo of a street lamp during the dust storm in Sydney, Australia on September 23rd, titled "7am-8am". Original here. (ArmyofDolls / CC BY-ND) #

Sydney office buildings seen through the haze of a dust storm on September 23, 2009. (GREG WOOD/AFP/Getty Images) #

A television crew films from Observatory Hill near Sydney on September 23, 2009 as Australia's biggest city is shrouded in an eerie blanket of red dust. (GREG WOOD/AFP/Getty Images) #

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is seen on September 23, 2009. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images) #

The entrance to Luna Park is seen during the dust storm of September 23, 2009 in Sydney, Australia. (Stuart Hannagan/Getty Images) #

The Sydney Harbour Bridge vanishes into a dust cloud on September 23, 2009 in Sydney, Australia. (Brendon Thorne/Getty Images) #

People wait at a train station during a dust storm Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2009 in Sydney, Australia. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith) #

Vehicles make their way over the Cahill Expressway near Sydney on September 23, 2009 as Australia's biggest city is blanketed in a dust storm. (GREG WOOD/AFP/Getty Images) #

A man takes a photograph of the barely visible Sydney Opera House as a dust storm blankets the city on September 23, 2009. (REUTERS/Tim Wimborne) #

Light traffic crosses the Sydney Harbour Bridge during a dust storm at sunrise September 23, 2009. (REUTERS/Tim Wimborne) #

The Sydney Opera House is viewed across the harbor on September 23, 2009 in Sydney, Australia. (Matt Blyth/Getty Images) #

A man takes a photograph from Observatory Hill overlooking Sydney Harbour on September 23, 2009. (GREG WOOD/AFP/Getty Images) #

A photo of the sun, visible through heavy dust over Sydney, Australia on September 23rd, titled "The Sun on Dust Day". Original here. (Wilf2 / CC BY-SA) #

 
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