Dust storm: Photos show how red the the dust is | Photos, pictures

THE sky has turned orange in many parts of the region with strong winds blowing a dust storm in all directions.

Widespread raised dust and thunderstorms were predicted by meteorologists early on Thursday morning, along with a very hot day, and it certainly came true.

Thick, red dust has already been reported right across the Central West, including in Dubbo, Parkes, Forbes, Cowra, and Bathurst. Tamworth also was affected.

Wind gusts have reached as 78km/h in Bathurst, with speeds up to 74km/h in Orange, 69km/h in Dubbo and Forbes; and 67km/h in Parkes.

A total fire ban has been declared across much of the region due to a severe fire danger risk. The council areas included in the ban are: Blayney, Bathurst, Cabonne, Cowra, Goulburn-Mulwaree, Lithgow, Mid Western, Oberon and Orange.

While there is a very high fire danger, but no total fire ban, in these council areas: Cootamundra, Dubbo, Forbes, Hilltops, Narromine and Parkes.