March 06, 2019 14:09:37
Health authorities are warning a dust storm sweeping across NSW is closing in on Sydney, as the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) tells people in several areas to prepare for a severe thunderstorm.
- Severe storms are likely to lash the Sydney region this afternoon and evening
- Air quality has deteriorated in Sydney as a dust storm sweeps across to the coast
- People with existing respiratory difficulties should limit their time exercising outside
NSW Health told people with respiratory and cardiovascular conditions to steer clear of strenuous outdoor activities, and said air quality was likely to worsen during the day.
Meanwhile, the BOM warned a thunderstorm would likely bring strong winds, heavy rain and large hail across Sydney, the Illawarra and Hunter regions in the afternoon and evening.
Severe storms were detected near Richmond and Windsor in the early afternoon.
Sydney’s air quality was rated as “poor” today.
“Dust may aggravate existing heart and lung conditions and cause symptoms like irritated eyes and a cough,” said Director of Environmental Health Dr Richard Broome.
“People with conditions including asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema and heart disease should monitor their symptoms throughout the day.”
He said symptoms can occur for several days after dust is inhaled and if they don’t settle, people are advised to seek medical advice.
Dust, rain wreak havoc with motorists
The Riverina has been the worst hit, with air quality reaching hazardous levels over the past 24 hours near Wagga Wagga and Albury, while areas around Bathurst and Orange suffered very poor air quality conditions.
Residents of Bomen and Coota captured spectacular images of the enormous dust cloud encapsulating their suburbs.
As rain scattered across the Riverina and mixed with the dust, drivers were forced to pull over as their windscreens became covered in mud.
The south west slopes region, including Wagga Wagga, recorded hazardous particle levels on Wednesday even after conditions were calmer.
When particles reach that level, the state’s Environment Department advises everyone to avoid outdoor exertion and stay inside as much as possible.
The conditions can be especially problematic for anyone with heart or lung diseases.
Forecasters said a cold front would extend across the southern inland and western districts on Wednesday afternoon.
This was expected to bring cooler conditions, along with some showers and thunderstorms to much of the state.
March 06, 2019 13:17:54