Dust envelopes Cowra again

The view of Cowra and beyond from the town's lookout at lunch time on Tuesday.
The view of Cowra and beyond from the town's lookout at lunch time on Tuesday.

Cowra and much of the central west is again enveloped in dust.

Strong winds today have once again raised the dust with the forecast for the Central Tablelands for winds north to northwest between 20 to 40km/hr increasing to 35 to 50km/hr before turning west to southwesterly 35 to 55km/hr in the late afternoon.

Conditions aren't expected to improve much on Wednesday with winds between 20 and 30km/hr once again expected.

Thursday and Friday is more of the same with wind speeds of between 25 to 35km/hr expected on Friday morning before becoming light in the evening.

The following information is from NSW Health:

Exposure and health effects

The most common symptoms experienced during a dust storm are irritation to the eyes and upper airways. People who may be more vulnerable than others are:

  • infants, children and adolescents
  • the elderly
  • people with respiratory conditions, such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema
  • people with heart disease
  • people with diabetes.

For these people, exposure to a dust storm may:

  • trigger allergic reactions and asthma attacks
  • cause serious breathing-related problems
  • contribute to cardiovascular or heart disease
  • contribute to reduced life span.

Prolonged exposure to airborne dust can lead to chronic breathing and lung problems, and possibly heart disease.

Health precautions

The following precautions can help you protect yourself and minimise the adverse effects of a dust storm:

  • Avoid outdoor activity. If you must go outside, spend as little time outside as possible.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a mask or damp cloth to reduce exposure to dust particles. A P2 or P3 mask, available from hardware stores, should block even the finest particles if fitted correctly over the nose and mouth.
  • Avoid vigorous exercise, especially if you have asthma, diabetes or a breathing-related condition.
  • Stay indoors, with windows and doors closed.
  • Stay in air-conditioned premises, if possible.

If you are an asthmatic or have a respiratory condition and you develop symptoms such as shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, or chest pain, follow your prescribed treatment plan. If symptoms do not settle, seek medical advice.