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September 25th, 2009
04:50 PM ET

Red Skies Down Under

by CNN Meteorologist Bonnie Schneider

Some residents of Sydney, Australia thought it was Armageddon. The red sky, thick with dust was unlike anything anyone had ever seen. CNN I-reporters had their cameras ready to capture these incredible images.

“I could smell it before I knew what was happening, I thought the world was ending.” Sydney I-reporter Pablo Albani told CNN.
The past couple of days red dust filled the skies from Syney to Brisbane. Planes were grounded at the airport. Emergency services received calls from people having difficulty breathing. Just where was all this dust coming from and why was the sky red?

“The dust collected in the interior deserts of Australia around 1000 miles from Sydney by equally high winds associated with a strong frontal system.” explains Dr. Gregory Holland, a native Australian, as well a director of meso and microscale meteorology at NCAR, the National Center for Atmospheric Research based in Boulder, Colorado.
Holland says the central desert dust has a large iron content, which oxidizes to red. That’s where the red hue to the sky comes from. Central Australia is often referred to as “red center” because of this color effect.

Australia faced extreme weather in all forms recently: from floods to fires, and even thunderstorms with huge hailstones. The floods and storms were part of the same weather system that carried the dust.
Holland says the dust storms in down under typically follow long periods of drought and will likely happen again in the Southeastern Region of Australia.

Filed under: iReport
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Mike Armstrong TX.

    Earth is getting a little taste of Mars. are we being invaded by the martians are they changing our atmosphere to suit there bodys. tune in to the twilite zone next week same time same channel.

    September 25, 2009 at 8:33 pm |
  2. Dennis McBride

    The skies remind me of Alasad Iraq during a sandstorm. Those skies are normal in parts of Iraq. I was suprised none of the news achors on CNN even mentioned the comparison to Iraq. I know many of them have visited there. The reports I watch on CNN, gave the impression that NOBODY has ever seen an orange sky before..

    September 26, 2009 at 3:45 pm |