Sydney (AP) - Skies over eastern Australia have been mostly clear and blue Thursday, as people try to wipe off a film of reddish outback dust that's covering just about everything, even underground subway stations.
Wednesday, the worst dust storm in 70 years shrouded Sydney and surrounding areas for about eight hours. The orange haze blotted out landmarks such as the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge, played havoc with transport systems and sent asthmatics scurrying inside.
Health officials say no one was hurt in the storm, but centers in two states received hundreds of calls from people complaining of breathing difficulties.
Powerful winds lifted thousands of tons of topsoil from arid, drought-stricken areas inland. The haze could be seen from space. Satellite photographs of Australia taken yesterday show a huge brown smudge over the country.
The Sydney Morning Herald calls it ``the day the country blew into town.''
(COPYRIGHT 2009 BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)