Dust storm blankets Australian town in orange
An Australian town has been hit by a dust storm that covered the outback community in orange dust.
The storm swept through Charleville in south-west Queensland on Tuesday, knocking down trees and causing minor damage.
The scene prompted many residents to post photos and videos on social media.
Authorities said recent weather conditions had allowed strong winds to pick and spread dirt from the region.
"We do see a fair few dust events through the western parts of Queensland because it is such a dry and hot place, but it's definitely one of the more impressive events of the last few years," said Harry Clark, from Australia's Bureau of Meteorology.
He estimated the dust storm was about 200km (124 miles) wide. It recorded winds of up to 96km/h (60pmh), while visibility at the local airport was reduced to about 200m.
Some locals in the town, about 740km (460 miles) west of Brisbane, said the storm caught them by surprise.
"We heard thunder, so we went outside... and we turned around and there was this big red dust storm coming along," Paige Donald told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
"Our eyes are covered in dust."
Another resident in the town of about 3,300 people wrote on Facebook that it had been a "wild few hours". Others lamented not better preparing their homes.
"I didn't close the bedroom window before I went to work this morning! Nothing that the washing machine won't fix," wrote Sonja Street, posting a photo showing a bed covered in dust.
Police said the storm lasted a few hours and caused some minor damage to houses and signs in the town.