A massive dust storm has turned an Australian city red
The dust storm was exacerbated by strong winds and high temperatures. (Seven News)
On Thursday, it looked like Mars in the Australian city of Mildura.
A dust storm turned the sky bright orange and covered everything in sight. Photos from the city, in the state of Victoria, look like they have been filtered with a red lens.
The dust hit the city around midday with winds measuring up to 40 kilometers per hour (about 24.8 miles per hour) and temperatures hitting nearly 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), according to CNN affiliate 7News.
The dust storm was exacerbated by the same gale force winds and high temperatures that have contributed to deadly bushfires sweeping across New South Wales and Queensland states, further north of Victoria.
The Victoria Bureau of Meteorology told 7News that the dust storm wasn't surprising, given it had been a "very dry year through the northern part of the Mallee (district)."
With dust swept up into the air, visibility was low in Mildura, with photos showing cars and roads disappearing into a cloudy red haze. According to the Bureau of Meteorology, visibility at the airport fell from four kilometers (about 2.5 miles) to 500 meters (0.3 miles).
The region's ongoing drought is the most severe in decades -- and it's worsening natural phenomena like fires and dust storms. Kevin Parkyn of the Bureau of Meteorology told 9News that the red dust is topsoil, which has been loosened by the drought and made easier to kick up in wind.
"Until it rains, we'll see more of these types of events, unfortunately," he said.
The drought is just one of the symptoms of Australia's increasingly dire climate crisis. The country is getting hotter and drier, and the rains have stopped coming, devastating the livelihoods of farmers. This time last year, the dams in the Greater Sydney area were around 64.4% full -- now, they're at 46.6%, and the area will be under Level increased water restrictions starting December 10.
Some Australians are increasingly demanding action -- thousands of climate-striking students recently walked out of class, while Extinction Rebellion activists are stopping coal trains and blocking roads.
But the government has been less responsive. Just earlier Thursday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison denied that Australia's carbon emissions were related to the raging wildfires.
"To suggest that with just 1.3% of global emissions that Australia doing something differently -- more or less -- would have changed the fire outcome this season, I don't think that stands up to any credible scientific evidence at all," he said, according to 7News.