New South Wales recorded an increasing frequency of dust storms throughout 2018. The four-day dust event during 20-23 November 2018 followed intensifying drought conditions and loss of ground cover across the State during 2018. During 20–23 November 2018, 94% of monitoring stations in the NSW Air Quality Monitoring Network recorded daily PM10 concentrations above the national benchmark.
Three dust plumes developed with the passage of the three cold fronts across the State, during 20-23 November 2018. Strong and gusty winds associated with these fronts entrained and transported dust from South Australia into western New South Wales and Victoria. Elevated PM10 levels were first observed by the NSW Air Quality Monitoring Network in the South West Slopes on 20 November 2018. During 21–23 November 2018, daily PM10 concentrations reached beyond the benchmark in coastal regions and northern New South Wales.
This dust event was one of the highest in terms of observed daily PM10 concentrations in the recent history of the NSW Air Quality Monitoring Network, since 2009.