A TINY Outback Queensland town has been swallowed by a dust storm, with incredible photos of the event going viral.
The huge dust cloud rolled over Bedourie about 5pm on Thursday, lasting about an hour.
Council worker Jade Smith said she was alerted to the coming storm by a friend’s phone call.
‘‘By the time I got outside, all I had was my phone as my nephew had taken my camera,’’ she said.
‘‘It was just rolling in, changing colour.
‘‘It started with a grey and by the time it hit town it had turned the whole town red-orange.’’
Ms Smith said most of town’s residents bunkered-down inside buildings.
‘‘My partner and I were looking out the window and you couldn’t see the house next door for 10 or 15 minutes,’’ she said.
‘‘When it eased off it was just like a red cloud, a red mist, had gone all the way through town.’’
She said apart from a light coating of dirt, the monster storm left no damage.
‘‘We get dust storms of course, the wind blowing and picking things off the ground, but I’ve lived in Bedourie for 27 years and I’ve never seen one like that,’’ Ms Smith said.
‘‘It’s all over Facebook, it’s crazy. We’ve had phone calls all day about it.’’
Pradeep Singh from the Bureau of Meteorology said very dry conditions were necessary to create a dust storm.
‘‘Our most likely theory is it has been caused by a downdraft by a big thunderstorm,’’ he said.
In thunderstorms the air motions up and down, so on one side the air goes up and the other it comes down in a big gusty way.
‘‘There were thunderstorms in the area, so it’s very likely that dust was picked up by downdraft gusts.’’
In September 2009, Brisbane was blanketed by a dust storm, giving the city an eerie orange glow for a day.
Mr Singh said that one had a different cause, known as a ‘‘surge’’.
‘‘That was a fast moving frontal system moving in from the drier areas, churning up the air,’’ he said.