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Storm arrives dust in time for tea

Clouds of dust covered Rockhampton as the sun set at 6pm yesterday. Some buildings on Fitzroy Street weren't visible through the storm.
Clouds of dust covered Rockhampton as the sun set at 6pm yesterday. Some buildings on Fitzroy Street weren't visible through the storm. Chris Ison

UNTIL yesterday, Kim Sutton had never needed to chew her air before she could breathe it.

The Central Queensland mum watched a rare dust storm sweep over the region, covering most of the state with a thick red blanket.

At her home in Capella, 320km west of Rockhampton, Kim's clean car was covered in dust by 2pm.

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Bryan Rolstone said the storm, which travelled all the way from South Australia, was being pushed across Queensland by strong winds.

The storm, which blanketed Rockhampton last night, moved across Central Queensland at 40kmh yesterday.

It's expected to be clear by mid-morning, leaving behind a thin haze.

Kim stayed inside with her kids yesterday and kept the air-conditioner roaring.

“The whole town seems to be shut down. There's not a lot of traffic,” she said.

The dust storm created an incredible red layer over Brisbane in the morning before it moved further north.

At Blackwater, 195km west of Rockhampton, Sally-Anne Vidler said as the dust thickened it looked a bit like a “horror movie”.

“It's a real eerie feeling, like the world is coming to an end,” Sally-Anne said.

The Blackwater Hotel worker said the dust storm started out hazy about 10am, but thickened as the day went on.

“It's so thick you can taste it,” she said at 3pm.

Late yesterday the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) put out a warning to asthma sufferers to take precautions as the clouds laden with particles of sand swept through.

Last night visibility in Rockhampton was reduced to about 1000m as the storm clouded the city.

The dust has spread as far west as Longreach, 680km west of Rockhampton, and north to the Gulf of Carpentaria.

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