More Warnings As Dust Enshrouds Sydney

At-risk people are being urged to stay indoors if Sydney sees a repeat of the famous dust storm on Thursday.

A dust storm which began hitting Sydney early on Thursday morning is expected to bring poor air quality across the city throughout the day and into Friday.

The Bureau of Meteorology said on Thursday that light dust had started impacting the Sydney, Central Coast and Illawarra regions.

"The main band of thicker dust is still on the western slopes of the Great Dividing Range," BOM said.

"We expect the dust to gradually thicken over Sydney in the next few hours."

It's triggered warnings from experts for at risk people to avoid spending time outside and not engage in vigorous exercise during the dust storm, to avoid triggering a reaction.

Director of Environmental Health Dr Richard Broome said the warning was especially important for children, older persons, and people with chronic respiratory and cardiovascular conditions such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema and heart disease.

“If possible, stay in air-conditioned premises where filtration systems can help to reduce dust particles in the air,” Broome said.

Dust particles may aggravate existing heart and lung conditions and trigger itchy or burning eyes, throat irritation, runny nose and illnesses such as bronchitis, NSW Health said in a statement.

“People with asthma or a lung condition who develop symptoms such as shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing, should follow their Asthma or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Action Plan," Broome said.

“If symptoms do not settle, seek medical advice. If you are on home oxygen treatment, continue as prescribed and if breathlessness worsens, contact your doctor."

Asthma Australia also issued a warning on Thursday urging people with asthma to take "immediate preparations" ahead of the approaching storm.

"If you experience asthma symptoms and these worsen, seek medical intervention or in the event of an emergency call Triple Zero (000) and start asthma first aid," they said in a statement.

Asthma first aid

1. Sit the person upright 2. Give 4 separate puffs of a blue/grey reliever puffer 3. Wait 4 minutes 4. Repeat if no improvement 5. If no improvement call Triple Zero (000)

Sydney could face a repeat of the famous dust storm in 2009,  which left the skies above the city a deep orange.

10 News First weather presenter Josh Holt said dust storms occur after a combination of sustained wind and dry weather.

View of the Sydney Harbour Bridge during the dust storm of 23 September 2009. (Getty Images)

"[A] large swirling low pressure system has potential to bring dust storms, strong winds, thunderstorms, elevated fire danger & even snow to parts of NSW and the ACT all in the course of just today," The Bureau of Meteorology said on twitter on Thursday.

READ MORE: NSW In The Firing Line As Wild Dust Storms Blanket Town

Earlier this week a spectacular desk storm hit country NSW, with the White Cliffs Hotel in the state's north-west capturing the incredible footage on social media.

"Another you beaut dust storm," the hotel wrote.

"Turley’s hill disappears, general store barely in sight!"

The store, just across the road, is almost entirely obscured by the storm.

Featured Image: Getty Images

Contact the author: vgerova@networkten.com.au