Canberra dust storm cuts power to 6,500, shrouds iconic landmarks
The view from Mount Ainslie, showing a distant Parliament House obscured by dust. (ABC News: Michael Black)
More than 6,000 people have lost power in Canberra and a health warning has been issued due to strong winds that have left the city covered in dust.
EvoEnergy confirmed 6,500 people were affected by power outages in suburbs right across the city after the storm swept through early in the afternoon.
Power lines were down in a number of places, including at the Australian National University.
The capital’s iconic landmarks were obscured by the heavy dust.
A power pole was knocked down by high winds at the Australian National University. (ABC News: Ben Harris)
“Evoenergy crews are currently on site working as quickly and safely as possible to restore power,” an Evoenergy spokesperson said.
“Because of the total fire ban, there is an added slight delay to restoration as crews complete additional safety patrols to ensure fire risks are mitigated.”
‘I can see an accident happening’
In Yarralumla, Chichi Rojasrivaplata Winikerei said a power line was lying near to the road after it was knocked out by a falling tree about 4pm.
“Only worried if a kid walks along and touches it — lots of kids around here, hopefully they stay indoors,” Ms Winikerei said.
“There are people driving on this street trying to avoid the branch and I can see an accident happening soon.”
She said they were without power and would be looking for candles and torches ahead of nightfall.
The ACT Government warned dry conditions and strong wings meant dust particles were reducing air quality.
They issued a statement saying people with respiratory problems such as asthma and chronic lung diseases might experience difficulty breathing.
Canberrans were told to stay indoors, leave windows and doors closed, switch air-conditioners to recycle and avoid vigorous exercise outside.
The heavy dust was expected to remain until the evening.