A family’s road trip for New Year’s celebrations came to a sudden halt last week as an apocalyptic dust storm that resembled Ayers Rock engulfed their car.
Katie McKid, her husband Rob Trepess, and his daughter Summer, were driving to Nyngan, central New South Wales, when the once-in-a-lifetime storm covered the barren road.
‘I hadn’t seen something like that in my lifetime,’ Ms McKid told Daily Mail Australia.
‘We hadn’t heard there was a dust storm coming, there was some talk of a bit of rain later in the evening but we were about half way to Nyngan and we started to see it right in the distance.’
‘It looked quite like Ayers Rock actually.’
Katie McKid (left), her husband Rob Trepess, (right) and his daughter Summer, (centre) were driving to Nyngan, central New South Wales, when the once-in-a-lifetime storm covered the barren road
The trio drove toward the dust storm before pulling over on a long stretch of road to take some photos.
Ms McKid, who lives on a property about 70-kilometres north of Nyngan, realised the storm was quickly approaching and decided to film the dust storm as it closed in.
While Ms McKid has seen ‘little wirly’ dust storms before, they did not compete with what she saw on New Year’s Eve.
‘I’ve heard of dust storms like that. The property I’m on is my families property. My parents have spoken about them, my grandparents who lived here as well before us and they’ve spoken about those kind of dust storms,’ Ms McKid explained.
‘Where if you leave a window open you get red dirt throughout your house which is what we got to experience.’
The trio hid in the car as the storm passed over them, and drove through the thick red dust with the lights switched on.
The trio drove towards the dust storm before pulling over on a long stretch of road to take some photos
While Ms McKid has seen ‘little wirly’ dust storms before, they did not compete with what she saw on New Year’s Eve
‘It got really quite dark, really red. The visibility went down to really low,’ Ms McKid said.
The family were then forced to spend New Year’s Day cleaning after realising they had left a few windows at their home open.
Despite this, Ms McKid said she was in awe of the sight and was grateful it was followed by rain as the area has been struggling through a drought.
‘A couple of millimetres of rain followed and any time there is a little bit of rain you’re like ”oh that’s lovely”,’ she said.
Katrina Whaley, 31, from Nyngan, posted pictures of the dust storm roll towards her property
‘I live in Nyngan, been here for 13 yrs, and I have never in all my life seen anything like it. It was amazing!’ she told Daily Mail Australia
The enormous 20metre tall wall of dust left a 400-kilometre trail of destruction from Nyngan to Young, leaving the area looking like a Mars landscape.
In addition to the red haze, the region was hammered with damaging 90 km/h winds and scorching 40C temperatures.
Local residents jumped on social media to share the sky-consuming sight.
Katrina Whaley, 31, from Nyngan, posted pictures of the dust storm roll towards her property.
‘I live in Nyngan, been here for 13 yrs, and I have never in all my life seen anything like it. It was amazing!’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
‘I first noticed it was coming around 5pm.
‘My husband rang from work, he works in the mines and told me what was coming.
‘The wind was unbelievable at times and you could hear the roar of the wind before the storm was even over us.’
The Bureau of Meteorology said there was a large line of thunderstorms forming to the west and south-west of Dubbo on Monday afternoon
In addition to the red haze, Dubbo and surrounding regions were being hammered with damaging winds
How do they form?
There must be strong wind to firstly dislodge dust particles from surface and lift them.
Wind speed depends on the size of dust. Larger particles need greater wind speeds to be lifted.
The minimum wind speed required in Australia is about 30km/h.
For the dust to be lifted at height, the atmosphere needs to be unstable – typically through intense surface heating, passage of a trough, a cold front.
What problems do they cause?
Dust storms can reduce visibility.
They can also affect health as people with breathing conditions can react to the dust particles.
How often do they occur?
They are sporadic in nature and depend on the amount of rainfall.
They are a frequent occurrence in prolonged dry periods and are uncommon in wetter periods due to increase in vegetation and soil moisture which keeps dust particles at surface.
Source: The Bureau of Meterology