DUSTY: Dusty conditions at sunset just outside of Jandowae. Pic: Kate McCormack.
DUSTY: Dusty conditions at sunset just outside of Jandowae. Pic: Kate McCormack.

Wild dust storms plague the west

STRONG winds slashed through chinchilla last night at 7.00pm picking up loose dust and dirt.

A spokeswoman for the Bureau of Meteorology said a storm passing through Kingaroy produced strong outwards winds, and a bigger storm further to the east produced a sizeable dust front.

Thursday and Friday could see further dusty conditions in Chinchilla said the spokeswoman as storm systems move across South West Queensland.

"As storms surface in South West Queensland moving east behind a trough, strong winds are likely across New South Wales and will travel into Queensland," a spokeswoman said.

"It's possible it might push into the Western Downs and has the potential to case a thin dust haze," she said.

Dry conditions and no ground cover make for prime dust storm conditions, with strong winds picking up any loose dirt.

The raised dust can be troublesome for residents making a mess of clean floors and washing hanging out to dry, but it can also be harmful to the health of those who struggle with respiratory issues.

A Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service spokeswoman said airborne dust reduces air quality and visibility and may have adverse effects on health particularly for people who already have breathing-related problems such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema.

"The most common symptoms experienced during a dust storm are irritation to the eyes and upper airways," a spokeswoman said.

To minimise the effects of airborne dust the spokeswoman said to spend as little time outside as possible, close all windows and doors, and avoid vigorous exercise.

"If your car is airconditioned, reduce the amount of dust entering your car by switching the air intake to 'recirculate'.

"If you are an asthmatic or have a respiratory condition and you develop symptoms such as shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing or chest pain, follow your prescribed treatment plan. If symptoms do not settle, seek medical advice," she said.


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