MILDURA descended into darkness within a matter of minutes just after 5pm this evening as a dust storm blanketed the region.
Planes have been grounded at Mildura Airport until at least 8.30pm and the terminal had to be evacuated because of dust entering the building.
The Bureau of Meteorology said wind gusts of 63 km/h were recorded.
Duty forecaster Dean Stewart attributed the "bizarre" weather conditions to the region's lack of rainfall over the summer period.
The unexpected storm also set off fire alarms across the city, with the Country Fire Authority called out to more then 15 businesses.
Impressive vision of the dust storm that moved through #Mildura airport at 5pm. Wind gusts reached 57 km/h in the storm, while #Walpeup had gusts to 87 km/h and #Hopetoun hit 85 km/h. A severe weather warning is current for the #Mallee: https://t.co/N1uhs307nn#VicWeatherpic.twitter.com/5otLZEVeqG— Bureau of Meteorology, Victoria (@BOM_Vic) May 7, 2019
Just past 5pm & it’s pitch dark in Mildura, with the most almighty dust storm. Winds so strong that as the dark came down I saw frantically flapping birds swept backwards. I’ve never seen anything like it. Fitting on the day we were told -again - that we risk mass extinction. pic.twitter.com/6jsQWLKaBX— Kathleen Maltzahn (@KPMaltzahn) May 7, 2019