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The dust settles in Sydney

The images below are from one of the worst dust storms to hit Sydney Australia in over 70 years. Fueled by strong gusty winds near 60 to 70mph, an estimated 5 million tons of dust was carried hundreds of miles to Sydney, which blanketed the city for a staggering 8 hours. Several international flights had to be delayed or diverted, ferries were suspended and air quality indices sky rocketed into unhealthy levels during the event. Considering Australia is the 2nd driest continent behind Antarctica, dust storms are quite common, but the region is facing one of its worst droughts ever on record, making this event quite rare.

Australian dust storm seen from space.

Still Dry Around Town – Relief in Sight?

As of 7pm Thursday evening, the St. Cloud Airport was 2.25″ behind normal precipitation for the month of September. There have only been two days of rain this month adding up to a dismal 0.19″ – which sits at the 2nd driest September on record as of now. The driest is 0.07″ set in 1952 (Thanks Bob Weisman from St. Cloud State University for that info).

Looking ahead, today and tonight appear to be our next best chances at precipitation. Latest model runs keep most of the precipitation across far southern Minnesota, but it has been trending northward over time, which means that we could see a little more than what previous runs have shown (0.25″ to 0.50″) keep your fingers, toes and eyes crossed!

This is what the weather maps show for Friday, again notice the heavier moisture across southern Minnesota. We’ll get the left-overs of what ever develops to our south. The important thing, though, is that it does look like we’ll be adding some positive numbers to the rain department over the next 24 to 36 hours.

Todd’s Outlook for greater St. Cloud

Today: Mostly cloudy, period of rain, possible thunder. High: 66

Tonight: Mostly cloudy, spotty light showers tapering. Low: 52

Saturday: Lot’s of clouds, unsettled, passing shower or sprinkle early. High: 63

Sunday: More showers – better chance late, then gusty, turning cooler. Winds gust to 35+ High: 65 (falling into the 50s PM hours).

Monday: Blustery and cold with a little more sun. Winds gust from 20-40 mph. High: 60

Tuesday: Partly cloudy, winds ease a bit. High: 62

Wednesday: Fading sun, milder. High: near 70

Thursday: Showers possible. High: 63

Friday: Showers taper, turning breezy and cooler. High: near 60

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