Dust shrouds Sydney as air quality readings in NSW reach ‘hazardous’ levels

0


Updated

February 13, 2019 14:26:09

Air quality levels in NSW’s Illawarra and south-west slopes has been rated “hazardous” due to a dust haze, which has also shrouded Sydney.

Key points:

  • Air quality levels in south-west Sydney are rated very poor
  • The air has become hazardous in the Illawarra and south-west slopes
  • The dust has been picked up from the state’s west but should clear this afternoon

The dust has been picked up from the state’s west and blown to the coast by strong west to north-westerly winds yesterday and today.

Visibility in Canberra was reduced to about 3 kilometres yesterday afternoon, according to the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), while in the far west visibility was down to 1km.

“It’s pretty bad,” Meteorologist Stephen Stefanac said.

“This might be, in terms of intensity, the second or third worst for Sydney this summer.”

According to the Office of Environment and Heritage air quality forecast, the Illawarra region reached a hazardous level about 9pm last night and has not improved.

When air quality slides to that rating, the department advises everyone, especially people with heart or lung disease, to avoid outdoor exertion and stay inside as much as possible.

In the south-west slopes, the rating has remained hazardous since 2pm yesterday.

Sydneysiders also woke to a visible dust haze this morning.

While the situation was expected to improve overnight with a southerly change, the city’s south-west has recorded a “very poor” air quality reading since 8pm.

At that level, people with heart or lung diseases along with older adults and children are warned to avoid exercising outdoors.

Mr Stefanac said the worst-affected areas included Wagga Wagga north, but Albion Park south and Kelmba Grange have also recorded hazardous air quality levels.

He said the skies should clear by the end of the day.

“It’s quite clear on the satellite image at the moment,” he said.

“It’s contracting to north east NSW, so in Sydney it should clear by either late morning or early afternoon.”

Drivers warned of visibility issues

In the Riverina the dust caused problems for drivers with two minor crashes involving trucks near Narrandera, where wind gusts reached 70 kilometres per hour.

Jason Wall from the RFS said the accidents had the potential to be very serious, including one that involved three trucks and a car north of Grong Grong.

“Luckily there were not fatalities, but I couldn’t put it more prominently to urge people to drive to the conditions,” he said.

“If visibility is getting low slow down.”

Several motorists reported they had to slow down to 10kph or pull over on the side of the road.

On the ABC Riverina Facebook page, Antoinette Ward said it was “scary” on the roads near Junee.

“There was an accident just in front of us where a semi accidentally ran up the back of a caravan,” she said.

“[There was] extensive damage to [the] caravan, owners said it wasn’t towable.”

Topics:

health,

environment,

fires,

weather,

sydney-2000,

albion-park-2527,

walgett-2832,

wagga-wagga-2650,

canberra-2600

First posted

February 13, 2019 09:55:23



Source link

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Powered by WP Robot

%d bloggers like this: