Sep 23 2009 11:53am

Sydney, Australia, dressed up like Mars

Wednesday morning, an enormous storm from the Australian Outback blanketed the eastern coast of the continent in a fine, orange dust. These fairly common outback dust storms are usually restricted to the arid inland, but the country has been suffering from one of the worst droughts in its history. The drier conditions are probably responsible for the unusual spread of this particular storm to the eastern and southern coastal regions.

This is easily the week’s most science fictional event. From the BBC:

“It was like being on Mars,” [Tanya Ferguson] told the BBC News website.

“I haven’t been there, obviously, but I imagine that’s what the sky would look like.”

Check out this astonishing Flickr set by Tom Coates, or just browse for some of the on-the-ground images that continue to be uploaded throughout the evening over there.

[This image is from Flickr user katclay and is cc-licensed for commercial use.]

Torie Atkinson suddenly wants to re-read Red Mars.

Sam Brady
1. lewaah
I lived in Lubbock, Texas as a kid and I can remember dust storms blowing in off the West Texas plains that looked a lot like that. That orange sky is eerie. Do they get tumbleweeds Down Under?
Brendon Roberts
3. saunterasmas
I live 80kms south of Sydney and it was magnificent!

Great minds think alike Torie. I was out there pretending I was one of the First Hundred.

The dust settled a lot by around 9 am and everything had a layer of red. Everyone is bitching and whining and thinking it's a sign of the apocalypse, but I love it.

People who live in the interior of the country are used to this kind of thing just like I'd imagine people from Texas would be too lewaah. I don't think they have tumbleweeds out west, but I don't head out that way often.
Justin Adair
4. Hobbyns
I just returned to Sydney a few months ago, and boy! Waking up early to get ready for work and looking out your bathroom window at RED ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE!!! is a great way to be awake and alert early without the use of caffeine. My car was caked in red earth (as was everyone's)

The part that can't be imparted through photos was the almost cyclone-strength winds blowing early that morning. So, red earth and sky, and trees that were almost being blown sideways by the strong winds. Really one of a kind imagery.

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