Dust storms are a natural event in Australia, especially in the drier parts of Central Australia.    They mainly occur during the summer months when it is generally drier and the extra heat creates extra wind patterns.   The occurrence of dust storms have been recorded since Australia was settled by white people and most likely would have been regular occurrrences even long before that. Each time a wind from the west started to blow it was a sign that we would have to close the windows
If you have never lived through a real Australian Dust Storm then you would have no idea about what conditions generally rural people have to live with.
Dust Storms are a way of life for many Queenslanders. Queensland rural residents have enjoyed a number of years whereby wet seasons have allowed them to enjoy some luxury in having greener pastures than normal. However, 2013 has changed and dry conditions have returned to many areas including the Channel Country where for a number of years in the 1940’s &1950’s I lived and where dry seasons were in full occupancy. Dust storms do become a way of life and whilst they are very annoying and uncomfortable they have to be dealt with on an almost daily basis in the summer season. When we talk about dust storms we mean that the dust is so thick that it is difficult to see even just a few feet in front of you - it is just like nightfall and the lights are turned off. .
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Dust Storms hit Western Queensland 
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and doors, use wet, rolled-up towels to plug any gaps and simply wait it out.   Some used to say that it was best to open all the doors and windows and let the dust blow right through the house and out the windows on the opposite  side of the house.
Living in Australia with Dust Storms
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Days turn into night As you can see from the photo to the left days can turn into night very quickly as the dust storm advances.   Central Australia is often called the “Red Centre” for good reason.    Often as the dust storm approaches the skies turn a very vivid orange-red colour as the sun is blocked out by the dust.    The dust particles are very small and so there is just no shelter from the dust.    It doesn’t matter what action you take it just gets into everything.    If you think that by shutting windows and doors and placing wet cloths around them it will stop the dust - think again.   It is not an exaggeration to say that at times the dust is so thick it is necessary to use a shovel to get the dust out of the living room.     Dust Storms and damage Dust storms sometimes last just an hour or so, but other times they can last for days.    One of the worst things about continuing dust storms is the erosion to paddocks and landscape.   The top soil is ripped off the countryside and is carried on the winds for miles, sometimes hundreds of miles.   Who knows where hundreds and thousands of tons of the best of Australian topsoil has finally come back to earth. Windmills are the lifeblood of this country and without them operating water stops flowing and stock die of thirst.   Dust storms do untold damage to them - blades blown off - or worse the windmill sustains major structural damage.    Dust invades the workings and cause them to seize up.   It is a very labour intensive and sometimes a dangerous task to get them back operating. Fences also sustain major damage.    For one reason or another sand and topsoil will start to collect at the base of the fence.   As the storm continues this soil builds up and can in fact start to bury the fence, especially where netting has been used to keep dingoes from sheep. Never underestimate the power of a dust storm Wind gusts from dust storms can be a powerful as those from a cyclone.    They have the power to tear the roof off buildings.   Small aircraft sitting on the airport can be totally destroyed, firstly because they get “sandblasted” and secondly because they can be blown apart or overturned.   Glass windows in houses have been known to have been etched by the power of the storm sandblasting them.
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