Eerie dust storms plunge NSW towns into darkness

Damaging winds produced by thunderstorms across central NSW have whipped up giant dust storms that turned day into night in some towns.

The Bureau of Meteorology issued a series of severe thunderstorm warnings on Sunday evening for inland NSW with the associated winds generating massive dust clouds.

Videos posted to social media showed dust storms descending on Dubbo and nearby towns that were so thick they blocked out the sun.

Towns descended into darkness as the thick dust cloud engulfed Narromine and Nyngan.

Footage from Nyngan shows the town descend into a dark orange. Source: Facebook/ Michelle Heggie

A gust of 94 km/h was recorded at Parkes about 6.30pm while a gust of 107 km/h was recorded at Dubbo about 7.45pm, BoM said.

Bureau meteorologist Rose Barr said Sunday's significant rain was concentrated across central and northern parts of the state on, and east, of the ranges.

Many towns on the Mid North Coast and the northern rivers region received between 100 and 180 millimetres from 9am to 10.30pm on Sunday.

In the southern part of the state, high winds saw storms race overhead quickly, resulting in lower measured falls.

A dust storm engulfs homes at Narromine on Sunday. Source: Twitter/ Mick Harris

Storms to continue into Monday

Downpours over the past few days have provided relief for parts of drought-stricken NSW and helped firefighters slow the spread of bushfires and build containment lines ahead of increased fire danger mid-week.

The thunderstorms will continue on Monday.

The cloud creeping in on Nyngan. Source: Michelle Heggie

"[Monday] we have a very active thunderstorm day forecast, particularly across southeastern and central-eastern parts of the state, as well as parts of the southwest slopes," Ms Barr said.

But again they are likely to move quickly with some "extremely strong wind gusts". There could also be large hailstones.

Winds will shift and come more from the north and west mid-week, bringing drier and warmer air on Wednesday and Thursday.

"That means on both of those days we may end up seeing fire dangers increasing again and causing more problems for our fire agencies," Ms Barr said.

But moisture will thankfully return on Friday and the weekend.

Victoria is also facing dangerous conditions on Monday, with flash-flooding in bushfire-ravaged areas facing flash flooding.

The death toll from the state's unprecedented bushfires climbed to 21 this weekend following the death in hospital of an elderly man burned in Cobargo on New Year's Eve.

The 84-year-old was taken from his home on December 31 to South East Regional Hospital before he was transferred to Concord Hospital in Sydney where he died in the early hours of Saturday.

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