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Dust storm hits Brisbane

A dust storm which blanketed Sydney on Wednesday morning hit Brisbane a few hours later at midday.

Dust clouds that caused havoc around South-East Queensland today are beginning to clear.

Sam Terry from The Weather Company said at 4.30pm visibility at Brisbane Airport had returned to 1800m, after dropping as low as 200m at midday. A normal reading is in the vicinity of 25,000m.

"Brisbane is just on the western tip of this band, so most of it has actually moved across off shore. I wouldn't think it would last much longer. You'll see it really abate over the next hour," Mr Terry said.

Brisbane's CBD under a layer of dust. Click for more photos

Brisbane's CBD under a layer of dust.

  • Brisbane's CBD under a layer of dust.
  • Media gather to photograph the dust falling over Brisbane's CBD.
  • Brisbane's Story Bridge shrouded in dust.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader image of the Story Bridge taken at New Farm.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo taken in Brisbane's CBD.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo of the dust over Brisbane's CBD.
  • brisbanetimes.com.au readers Ben and Renee Johnston sent in this photo of their dog Captain inspecting the dusty sky.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo taken in Brisbane's CBD.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo taken at Warner Roadshow Studios, Oxenford.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo taken at Warner Roadshow Studios, Oxenford.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo of the Story Bridge.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo taken from Kangaroo Point.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo taken from Kangaroo Point.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photograph of the dust storm over Brisbane Boys' College at Toowong.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photograph of the dust storm over Brisbane Boys' College at Toowong.
  • The view from Brisbane's Mt Coot-tha during the dust storm.
  • The viewing platfrom at Mt Coot-tha during the dust storm.
  • Dust covers Brisbane's Mt Coot-tha during the dust storm.
  • Dust covers Brisbane's Mt Coot-tha during the dust storm.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo of the dust over Brisbane's CBD.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo taken at Bullcock Beach, Caloundra.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo taken in Brisbane's CBD.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo taken in Brisbane's CBD.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo taken in Brisbane's CBD.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo taken in Brisbane's CBD.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo of the dust over Brisbane's CBD.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo taken in Brisbane's CBD.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo taken in Brisbane's western suburbs.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader image taken on Melbourne Street, South Brisbane.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo of the dust over Brisbane's CBD.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo taken in Brisbane's CBD.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo of the dust over Fortitude Valley.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo taken in Brisbane's CBD.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader image taken on Melbourne Street, CBD.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo taken in George St, in Brisbane's CBD.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader image taken on Melbourne Street, South Brisbane.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo of dust covering Tamborine Mountain.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo of the dust over Fortitude Valley.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo of the dust over Fortitude Valley.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo taken in Brisbane's western suburbs.
  • Brisbane's CBD was barely visible during the dust storm.
  • Brisbane's Story Bridge was barely visible during the dust storm.
  • Brisbane's CBD was barely visible during the dust storm.
  • Brisbane's CBD skyline was barely visible under the dust clouds.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo of the dust in Brisbane's CBD.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo of the dust in Brisbane's CBD.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo of the dust in Brisbane's CBD.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo of the view from QUT's Gardens Point campus.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo taken at Karana Downs.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo taken at Karana Downs.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo taken at Karana Downs - one of her children is asthmatic.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo taken at Karana Downs.
  • Blue sun ... a photograph taken at South Bank during the dust storm.
  • A view of Brisbane's CBD hidden beneath dust.
  • A view of Brisbane's CBD hidden beneath dust.
  • A view of Brisbane's CBD hidden beneath dust.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo taken at Varsity Lakes.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo taken near the airport.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo taken at Bowen Hills.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo taken at Varsity Lakes.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo taken at Varsity Lakes.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo taken at Corinda.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo taken near the Toowoomba Range.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo of the Brisbane River.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader sent in this photo of the view from his Everton Park home.
  • The Ipswich Motorway under dust.
  • The Ipswich Motorway under dust.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo taken at Spring Hill.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo taken at Corinda.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo taken near the Toowoomba Range.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo taken at Fortitude Valley.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo taken at Fortitude Valley.
  • A brisbanetimes.com.au reader photo.
  • A view of Brisbane under heavy dust clouds from South Bank.
  • Brisbane's Story Bridge was barely visible during the storm.
  • Brisbane's CBD was barely visible during the storm.
  • Brisbane's CBD was barely visible during the storm.
  • Brisbane's CBD was barely visible under the dust clouds.
  • Brisbane's CBD was barely visible during the storm.
  • Brisbane's Gateway Bridge.
  • Brisbane's Story Bridge covered in dust.
  • A view of Brisbane under heavy dust clouds from South Bank.
  • Brisbane's Story Bridge covered by dust.
  • Dust in Brisbane's CBD.
  • Dust in Brisbane's CBD.
  • The dust settles over Brisbane's CBD.
  • The dust storm settles over Brisbane.
  • The Brisbane River covered in dust.
  • Brisbane's CBD was barely visible through dust.
  • Brisbane's skyline was barely visible under the dust cloud.
  • St Mary's Church in Ipswich shrouded in dust.
  • A reader's photograph of the dust storm at Karalee, Ipswich.
  • A reader's photograph of the dust storm at Karalee, Ipswich.
  • The dust storm settles over homes at Jindalee.
  • The dust storm approaches homes at Jindalee.
  • Birds at Sydney Harbour.
  • Kookaburras waiting for the dust storm to settle in Somersby.
  • (Top) A shot of Neutral Bay on a normal day, and (bottom) during the dust storm.
  • A blanket of dust covers  Sydney as two men wait at the entrance to the Anzac Bridge in Pyrmont to be picked up for work.
  • A blanket of dust covers Sydney as a woman goes for a morning walk past the Sydney Harbour Bridge at Milsons Point.
  • The view of Sydney city from Macquarie Street as a  blanket of dust covering the city of Sydney from a dust storm.
  • From the neighbouring boundary of the Wattle Grove milling base five minutes after the break of dawn.
  • Sea Cliff Bridge ... dust storm from the west hits the east coast.
  • Previously and now ... how the Sydney Harbour usually looks like (left) and during the dust storm (right).
  • Looking down on the Downing Centre court building in Sydney's CBD.
  • The scene in Wattle Grove, NSW.
  • Toll at Sydney Harbour Bridge.
  • A man is dwarfed by the dust covered sails of the Sydney Opera House as tourists and locals head to the cities icons to take photographs of the blanket of dust covering the city of Sydney from a dust storm.
  • A person takes pictures in front of the Sydney Opera House during a dust storm.
  • Under a blood red sky ... Dee Why pool and beach.
  • End of the world ... the scene at Dee Why pool, Sydney.
  • The sky is orange over the Freshwater headland on the northern beaches.
  • Light traffic crosses the Sydney Harbour Bridge during a dust storm at sunrise.
  • Joggers on Bondi Beach.
  • Tourists and locals gather at Cirular Quay to take photographs of the Sydney Harbour Bridge as a blanket of dust covers the city of Sydney from a dust storm.
  • The Sydney Harbor Bridge is cloaked in dust as as dust clouds blanket much of Sydney in Australia's New South Wales.
  • Joggers at Dover Heights.
  • A person takes pictures of the dust on his car during a dust storm in Sydney.
  • Ben Buckler Point, Bondi
  • The scene in Paddington.
  • People exercising at Coogee Beach.
  • Dust on car this morning.
  • Swimmers at ocean pool at Bronte Beach.
  • Michael Hart photographs the The Sydney Harbor Bridge as it is cloaked in dust as as dust clouds blanket much of  New South Wales.
  • A cyclist in Sydney wears a mask as dust clouds blanket much of New South Wales.
  • The Sydney Opera House is cloaked in dust as dust clouds blanket much of Sydney in Australia's New South Wales.
  • A man wearing a dust mask walks across the Sydney Harbour bridge as a dust storm blankets the city.
  • A man walks to work past an almost unseen  Sydney Harbour Bridge during a dust storm.
  • A sightseeing boat passes in front of the Sydney Opera House during a dust storm.
  • Cars wait at traffic lights  during a dust storm in Sydney.
  • People walk towards an almost unseen Sydney Harbour Bridge during a dust storm.
  • A outer suburb of Sydney Australia during a dust storm.
  • People wait at a train station  during a dust storm in Sydney.
  • A photographer takes pictures of the Sydney Harbour bridge as a dust storm blankets the city.
  • A man takes a photograph of the just visible Sydney Opera House (top L) as a dust storm blankets the city.
  • Cremorne Point Ferry Wharf.

"By tomorrow morning, you won't even remember it - apart from cars being dusty."

Today, construction workers at hundreds of South-East Queensland building sites walked off the job while Eagle Farm race track was forced to cancel its scheduled meeting.

Pharmacies were inundated with requests for face masks, although medical experts have played down health concerns related to the dust storm.

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Dust storms turn Sydney red
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At its fiercest, the storm reportedly dumped 16,000 tonnes of dirt every hour over South-East Queensland.

Whipped up by strong westerly winds over central Australia, the dust prompted traffic authorities to erect warning signs on highways and major roads into the CBD amid fears of nose-to-tail accidents.

While Brisbane Airport was monitoring the situation closely, no flights had to be cancelled or rerouted due to the storm here.

However, because of the severity of the dust storm that hit Sydney this morning, no flights left Brisbane for the NSW capital until after 9am, creating a backlog that took much of the day to clear.

Dust poses little danger: expert
Brisbane respiratory medical expert Dr Simon Bowler this morning downplayed the potential effects on asthma sufferers.

The Mater Hospital respiratory physician said air-borne pollutants were more likely to cause respiratory problems for asthma sufferers than ground dust.

"By and large dust that's from the ground is relatively inert and for most people it's not a particular drama," Dr Bowler told ABC Radio.

"It's fairly uncommon to see a lot of respiratory problems with wind-blown dust. Paradoxically in Brisbane asthma tends to be a whole lot worse when the skies are clear, because that means there are particularly westerly winds blowing and asthma is much worse under those circumstances."

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Tony Auden said this morning a red blanket had reduced visibility on the Darling Downs to 100 metres.

"This is one of the thickest dust storms I've seen for at least three or four years," he said.

He said the cloud blowing from the red centre yesterday had caused severe dust storms in Sydney, although the effects could be short-lived here.

"We should see conditions slowly improve into the afternoon and the dust settle out as the front moves through the south-east."

Dust clouds whipped up by strong winds blanketed Sydney this morning, casting a strange red pall over the city. 

"The reason for the dust is we had some really strong winds in the inland areas of NSW and in South Australia for a sustained period yesterday," said Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Jane Golding.

"That's lifted a whole lot of dust off the ground because it's quite dry out there, many of those areas are still drought affected."

The lifted dust was carried by the winds into Sydney.

"I've not seen anything like this before."

The reddish haze was expected to fade as the sun got higher in the sky, Ms Golding said, but it was not known what would happen to the dust.

"This is such an infrequent event ... it's hard to say when the dust will stop."

- with Marissa Calligeros, Christine Kellett and Arjun Ramachandran