Red haze descends over parts of South Australia


Fires have now destroyed more than 2,600 homes since September, and 28 people have died, along with hundreds of millions of animals.

Australia's southeast has already had to deal with the awful effects of historic bushfires and huge clouds of smoke.

The grounds of Parliament House were blanketed with the huge hailstones, while Old Parliament House closed to visitors soon after the storm struck.

Golf ball-sized hail is shown at Australia's Parliament House in Canberra on January 20, 2020.

In New South Wales there were still 64 bush fires burning as of Tuesday, with 16 of them not yet contained.

To the west, a 300-kilometre wide cloud of red dust was carried by wind gusts up to 107 kilometres per hour and descended on the drought-stricken towns of Dubbo, Broken Hill, Nyngan and Parkes, local media reported.

Meanwhile, the country's capital was pounded by hail storms on Monday.

Torrential rain, storms and hailstones hit Melbourne, while the heavy downpours also lashed parts of New South Wales and Queensland.

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"We are used to the ritual and rush of bringing in washing, turning air cons off, closing windows and doors, before a big dust storm hits", Ashleigh Hull from the rural town of Dubbo told AFP.

There are a number of storm cells moving across NSW now, which likely to produce damaging, locally destructive winds, large and possibly giant hailstones and heavy rainfall.

The wild weather is the latest twist in Canberra's freaky summer in which the city has been choked with thick bushfire smoke over the past month.

State Premier Daniel Andrews said the rain meant "much more unsafe conditions" for those operating heavy machinery to get into areas damaged by bush fires, while landslides complicated efforts to open up closed roads.

Experts are expecting the damage figures to climb. Another image showed extensive damage to a auto windscreen, alongside the caption: "49 degree heat?"

Australia is slowly recovering from the aftermath of the summer with the fire dying down slowly.

A woman named Hilary Wardhaugh, who was at the National Library of Australia when the hail began to come down, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation it was an "unbelievable" sight.

Last week, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison prepared to finalize the AU$2 billion (approximately $1.37 billion) bushfire recovery plans for affected by the devastating blazes. New South Wales has received less than 5 inches (25 millimeters) of rain each year for the past three years, which has never happened before.