Massive duststorm chokes eastern Australia; Atlanta floods ease

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:22 PM GMT on September 23, 2009

Share this Blog
5
+

A massive dust storm swept through eastern Australia today, turning the skies in Sydney a eerie shade of red-orange. The dust storm was reportedly the worst since the 1940s, and Sydney recorded its highest levels of particulate air pollution ever. The dust storm resulted from strong winds associated with a powerful low pressure system that swept through eastern Australia this morning. Winds today at the Sydney airport were sustained at 36 mph, gusting to 51 mph. Wind gusts as high as 64 mph were recorded in the Sydney area as the storm's strong cold front passed through. Particulate pollution levels are still in the hazardous range this evening in Sydney, but are expected to improve to the "good" range on Thursday as the winds die down and the dust storm dissipates.


Figure 1.. Strong northwesterly winds carry dust over Sydney, Australia, at 00 UTC 9/23/2009. Image credit: NASA.


Figure 2.. A strong cold front passing through eastern Australia this morning generated a sustained winds in excess of 20 mph over a large portion of the region.

Severe drought has affected large regions of Southeast Australia over the past three years (Figure 3). In isolated areas near Melbourne, the drought is the worst on record. The resulting loss of vegetation has created large regions of loose dust, which the strong winds from this week's storm was able to loft in the air and transport long distances.


Figure 3.. Rainfall deficiencies for Australia for the past three years. Image credit: Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

Atlanta floods ease
Very heavy rains exceeding fifteen inches soaked the Atlanta, Georgia region early this week, triggering widespread major flooding that continues today. Rainfall eased yesterday, and all of the rivers in the Atlanta area have crested and are now falling. Record flood levels were observed on at least seven rivers and creeks in the Atlanta area yesterday, breaking records that had been set as long ago as 1919. Utoy Creek near Atlanta broke its previous flood record by nearly 11 feet on Tuesday. The floods have killed at least nine people and did $250 million in damage. Portlight.org is experimenting with a new disaster relief strategy for this flood--they have decided to adopt a single family to help, the Baxter family of Lithia Springs, Georgia. The Baxters lost their home, car, furniture, clothes, and everything else in their house, and need assistance to defray the short-term expenses of lodging, food, and clothing, so help out if you can.


Figure 4. Radar estimated rainfall for the Atlanta, Georgia region ending on September 22. More than 15 inches (white colors) had fallen in and around Atlanta.

There are no threat areas in the Atlantic to discuss today, and none of our reliable computer models are forecasting tropical storm development over the next seven days.

Jeff Masters

Parkinson Avenue 06:15 (LNRSYDNEY)
Unusual sunrise 1
Parkinson Avenue 06:15

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 481 - 431

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13Blog Index

Orca, it worries me when you post those SW Fla AOIs tho I'm more Ecoast. No Name & Ilene came in that way. . .
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
OK. I got it now. It says forecast valid Feb 2010.
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10034
Iceman - If I read that correctly, it could snow in Northern Florida?? (Extreme panhandle's western tip on Florida is pink)
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10034
477. 789
B
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting iceman55:





CFS is expecting snow in Florida!!!
Member Since: September 6, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 3710
Quoting wunderkidcayman:
poll time
Q:will we see a yellow or orange circle within the next 24-48 hours
(A) yes
(B) no
(1) yellow
(2) orange


B -- no no no
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting wunderkidcayman:
poll time
Q:will we see a yellow or orange circle within the next 24-48 hours
(A) yes
(B) no
(1) yellow
(2) orange


1
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting wunderkidcayman:
poll time
Q:will we see a yellow or orange circle within the next 24-48 hours
(A) yes
(B) no
(1) yellow
(2) orange


B
Member Since: Posts: Comments:


AOI

AOI

AOI

AOI
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
Quoting wunderkidcayman:
poll time
Q:will we see a yellow or orange circle within the next 24-48 hours
(A) yes
(B) no
(1) yellow
(2) orange


A1
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Hoping to see some snow in florida this year lol (us floridians can only dream)

Might be heading to new york in mid-december, hopefully i can catch a snowflake or frostbite.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
poll time
Q:will we see a yellow or orange circle within the next 24-48 hours
(A) yes
(B) no
(1) yellow
(2) orange
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting iceman55:
did u seeing models


which ones?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting iceman55:
i hopeing get snow like models said!


Me too iceman :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GTcooliebai:
Wow thanks!, it's just amazing how El Nino has impacted weather globally. I mean the lack of activity in the Atlantic vice versa for the Pacific and NO activity for the Indian Ocean


yeah, it has been an odd year to say the least
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
If it is in the Atlantic it is actually east of the Antilles. I am sure that is what you meant.


yea i meant east, sorry long day, college...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting PalmBeachWeatherBoy:
That carribean blob is probably too close to land, but that new blob in the atlantic(west of the lesser antilles) looks interesting, lets see if it stays looking nice.
If it is in the Atlantic it is actually east of the Antilles. I am sure that is what you meant.
Member Since: October 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8268
Wow thanks!, it's just amazing how El Nino has impacted weather globally. I mean the lack of activity in the Atlantic vice versa for the Pacific and NO activity for the Indian Ocean
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting msphar:
Makes more sense. Money is never easy to come by. A lot of wealth disappeared recently. Most suffered but the Treasury keeps producing more paper. So it goes.


yeah, I should probably learn to clarify my comments sometimes :P
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Makes more sense. Money is never easy to come by. A lot of wealth disappeared recently. Most suffered but the Treasury keeps producing more paper. So it goes.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GTcooliebai:
Is it possible that what is happening in Australia similiar to the"dust bowl."


It is probably not nearly as significant, but it is possible that the fires and dust storms are related to the weak el nino that is occurring.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
yep, that's true, but if I can also add since we are closing in on Oct. that typical tracks aim towards FL.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GTcooliebai:
000
ABNT20 KNHC 232340
TWOAT
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
800 PM EDT WED SEP 23 2009

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER BROWN

Does anyone think this might change at 2am?

I do and if not it will at 8 if not it will be at 2 and if not at 2 it will be at 8 pm
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Is it possible that what is happening in Australia similiar to the"dust bowl."
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
TbarM, texas tour, DC,blueberry ranch TX all comin up!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting msphar:
Tdude - I question what you mean by handling a hurricane. Usually I think in terms of surviving the weather conditions. Some don't (think or survive) take your pick. These things are rather unpleasant for those unfortunate enough to be in the cone.



Ok, I should clarify, some people are not financially stable enough to handle a hurricane, while others can. I am referring to damages caused by the storms to their property. make sense? :P
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
Both areas look very volatile and the one in the Caribbean is to close for comfort for me.

Sorry, it's the 23rd about to be 24th.
I'm working too hard.
Anyway, goodnight all. It's been nice.
Congratulations for Portlight Relief and the family they're helping.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GTcooliebai:
well... remember Gordon in 2000 and Gabrielle the yr. after.


what about Grace the year after
Link

Gaston the year after in 2004
Link

Gert in 2005
Link

Gordon in 2006
Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Of the hurricanes I've been near, Chris was my favorite. I set the anchors, went to sleep, and woke up to Chris disappearing. It was so cool.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
000
ABNT20 KNHC 232340
TWOAT
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
800 PM EDT WED SEP 23 2009

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER BROWN

Does anyone think this might change at 2am?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

ShearMap
Has shear relaxed in the Caribbean?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Tdude - I question what you mean by handling a hurricane. Usually I think in terms of surviving the weather conditions. Some don't (think or survive) take your pick. These things are rather unpleasant for those unfortunate enough to be in the cone.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting StormW:
Good evening!


Evening Storm. :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
what goes on storm?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting StormW:
Good evening!


Howdy Storm
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
:P lol... we got the clean side... we got lucky to get a gust of wind to 10mph and a rain rate of .00001 an hr.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
That carribean blob is probably too close to land, but that new blob in the atlantic(west of the lesser antilles) looks interesting, lets see if it stays looking nice.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 481 - 431

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

Local Weather

Overcast
73 °F
Overcast