Wednesday, September 24, 2008
On Monday, my first day in the desert, I experienced my first ever dust storm.
The Outback is just a endless expanse of red dust and rocks. Since the air is so dry, whenever a huge wind storm starts, it picks up all the loose dry dust into the air and blows in a big cloud with the front.
A little after lunch, Les yelled for me to come to the back yard. In the horizon was huge wall of dust blowing right towards us (apparently, this was not nearly as much dust as normal). Winds pickued up to nearly 50 mph. Within minutes, the whole sky was completely red. Then the rain started.
Soon red mud was pouring out of the sky. It looked like a deep crimson night, much like a scene out of Revelations. Trees everywhere were topling over and streets quickly flooded. We experienced 12 inches of rain in mere minutes.
The rain quickly died, so Jess and I went for walk. Rivers were flowing in the streets and cars were trying to either ford the roads or find an clear street to get home. Down the block, a whole tree started flowing down the middle of the street.
They don't get too much rain here, but when they do, it really pours. Most busy streets have small bridges so people can cross the the gutters to sidewalk. These were useless as there were all just islands in the middle of the many rivers in the city streets.
One hour later, everything was mostly cleared away, a strong testament to the city's drainage systems.
Broken Hill made all the national news programs. The storm was the worst in nearly 20 years. Just the day prior, Jess was hoping for a good storm for me to see. She got her wish.
I am glad my expectations of the dry desert proved true.