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Dust storm causing havoc for drought-stricken farmers in northern NSW

Rosie King, Friday July 20, 2018 - 14:06 EST
Audience submitted image
Sue Currey in Walgett, NSW, is enduring a dusty day at her place - Audience submitted

A dust storm in northern New South Wales is making already-tough farming conditions even worse for farmers.

Trina Redgwell and her husband Pete live on an 80-hectare Red Angus stud farm on the outskirts of Tamworth.

They woke this morning to find dust swirling around their property and most surfaces of their home covered with it.

"It has been blowing an absolute gale," Ms Redgwell said.

"We've had the paddock ready to go for our winter crop since February but haven't had the rain to plant. We were waiting for just 10 millimetres and we haven't even had that.

"There's obviously no grass cover so the wind is just blowing all our topsoil away, which will only make it worse for us and harder to eventually plant.

"It's just devastating."

There have been reports of the dust cover reaching the Hunter region and as far north as Walgett, but the Riverina and central-west regions appear to have escaped it.

Dust from Mildura storm lingers

Bureau of Meteorology meteorologist Jordan Notara said the dust was a hangover from a storm that whipped over Mildura on Tuesday morning.

"The dust from the storm in Mildura has blown across the state and has continued to linger around," he said.

"For a dusty situation, the key ingredients are dry soil and strong winds, and those conditions currently exist in many parts of regional New South Wales.

"The forecast for today is for windy conditions, which will be blowing additional dust across parts of the state but it should also help to disperse it as well.

"There has also been a small amount of rainfall across New South Wales this morning with more predicted this afternoon, particularly in the northern part of the state, which should help the dust to clear."

That is welcome news for Ms Redgwell, but does not change the fact she is facing a weekend of cleaning.

"When I left for work this morning there was dust everywhere. We had a thick layer of dust along every windowsill and dust all over the floor.

"And to think I vacuumed and mopped on Tuesday."


© ABC 2018

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