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Sydney and NSW hit by dust storm – will it reach NZ? (Photos + Dust Maps)

Parts of New South Wales are being hit by a dramatic dust storm today with parts of Sydney now affected by dust. The storm stretches 500kms and light dust is now falling in Sydney with forecasters saying the skies could turn red this afternoon.

The NSW Government has issued air quality warnings as the dust, whipped up by strong winds for days inland, moves eastwards. The wind is being caused by a large low that is developing and this low will end up covering much of the Tasman Sea by the weekend, taking the dust with it.

NSW is in the grips of a drought and a cold front attached to this low has picked up the dust across the State and now pushing some of it into Australia’s largest city.

You can see some of the dust clouds moving through Sydney in these two webcam images (click for live webcam).

– Webcam images courtesy of Quay West Suites

Between eastern Australia and New Zealand a large low (that brought the winds that created the dust storm) is growing in size. This slow moving swirling large low will cover much of the Tasman Sea and make future tracking of the dust quite tricky. Rain clouds, some producing heavy rain, will remove some of the dust and as it tracks over the Tasman. The heavier dust particles will fall to the sea while lighter dust will be caught up in the atmosphere.

Latest dust forecasting by ECMWF shows the dust storm reaching New Zealand but it thins out significantly in our part of the world, fizzling out once it reaches roughly the Pacific Ocean area. 

Both the large low and the jet stream (high altitude narrow current of fast moving air) are moving from eastern Australia to New Zealand over the coming days so coupled with the ECMWF dust maps believes there’s a low to moderate chance those lucky enough to get sunrises and sunsets (ie, without rain-clouds) may notice deeper orange/red in the sky this weekend. 

– Thursday PM

– Friday PM

– Saturday PM
– Maps with thanks to

– The large low that’s brought the dust storm to Sydney will then take it out into the Tasman Sea towards NZ.
– Image courtesy IBM/The Weather Company 

– Jet stream (in pale blue areas) tracking from east to west from Aussie to NZ along with the large low.
– Map courtesy of our mates at



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