Environment

Huge ‘wall of dust’ sweeps across western NSW

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Have you ever wondered what it's like to be inside a dust storm?

Now you can see for yourself, thanks to a video shot by a driver in rural NSW as a massive dust storm swept across the western parts of the state yesterday evening.

It's pitch black.

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Barry Turner, 65, was driving from his property towards White Cliffs in outback NSW when he was caught inside what he calls a "wall of dust".

"I had to get home, but I didn't think it was going to be quite as bad as what it was," he said.

"It got pretty dark so I pulled over to the side of the road and waited for it to pass.

The video shows Mr Turner's car driving towards the huge cloud of dust before plunging into complete darkness.

"Not much scares me but I was a little bit nervous."

A picture of the dust storm snapped by the Turner's daughter.

A picture of the dust storm snapped by the Turner's daughter.Credit:Louise Turner

Dust storms are most common when dry conditions and strong winds come together.

"We've got very dry topsoil and a lot of loose dust around and there were a lot of thunderstorms that moved across western NSW and with those thunderstorms you can get pretty gusty conditions which have whipped up that loose dust," said Weatherzone meteorologist Tom Hough.

"Obviously it is very welcome rain, but you do get these pretty gusty conditions."

Mr Turner and his wife, Annette, 65, have lived in the area for 56 years and have seen a few dust storms – but yesterday's was only the second one they've seen that was this extreme.

"They get a little bit darker but they're never as dark as that," said Mrs Turner.

"It is a bit scary when it goes black. It just makes you feel uncomfortable."

Mr Hough says there is potential for more dust storms in the future, as a number of thunderstorms are expected to move through the state in the coming months.

In the meantime, Mr Turner will have to replace his windscreen after rocks whipped up by the storm smashed into his car.

But as he says, that's just "life in the big dust".

Maani Truu is a casual journalist and producer at The Sydney Morning Herald.