When Leaim Shaw's wife Natasha screamed out for him to come outside and help her batten down the hatches, he took one look at the sky and ran back inside to retrieve his trusty drone.
"It's the biggest dust storm I have ever seen in my seven or eight years of living here," he said.
The dust storm engulfed the town of about 300 residents on Sunday afternoon - according to the Bureau of Meteorology a prelude to more storms to come over the 2021-22 storm season.
Storms, not necessarily dust storms, are forecast for the same location for most of the coming week.
Bureau of Meteorology meteorologist Pieter Claassen said he can't rule out more dust storms for the area this season, however he did forecast more thunderstorms with La Nina now in play.
He said Sunday afternoon's storm manifested into a wide storm front which travelled to the top of the Northern Territory.
Surprisingly there wasn't much damage from Sunday's event according to Leaim.
"We live in town and as far as we know there wasn't much damage and we were thinking of the worst case scenario," he said.
He said the dust storm enveloped an estimated 300km radius affecting Mount Isa and other surrounding towns like Dajarra and Urandangi.
Mount Isa City Council could not confirm if there were any reports of damage, nor could the local SES.
"There were 100km/hr wind gusts - it was blowing pretty hard and the kids were panicking a bit because they had never experienced anything like it before - it did look pretty scary," Leaim said.
"When it was going over there was no blue sky - it was sort of like you were in a cattle yard and all the dust was being stirred up. I'm seriously surprised there wasn't more damage. I thought the wife's greenhouse and the kid's trampoline would have taken off but they didn't."
Leaim said the whole event lasted all of about 10 minutes and was followed by a good drenching of rain which settled the dust.
"I recorded about seven millimetres of rain at my place," he said.
A dust storm happens when strong wind picks up dust and dirt from the ground, raises it into the atmosphere and carries it over an extensive area. Dust storms can trigger health problems for some people and cause disruption to transport due to poor visibility.
For a dust storm to develop you need four things:
Dust is more likely to be picked up by wind in sparsely vegetated areas where the soil is very dry. Low rainfall leads to dry soil and also means less vegetation is likely to grow, meaning there is less to anchor the dust to the surface.
Dust storms can be large or small. The larger ones tend to be associated with troughs and cold fronts, but the same process can take place at a smaller scale, when the gust front at the head of a thunderstorm lifts the dust.
Dust can travel hundreds of kilometres from its source when it is carried along in strong upper-level winds. Source areas for dust include deserts and dry lakes. For example, when dust affects Sydney, the dust can be carried from as far away as the Strzelecki Desert or Lake Eyre basin in South Australia, or Queensland's Channel Country, while if Melbourne sees dust, it's usually from the Mallee-Riverina region.
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