Hairy panic / Hairy weed invasion in Australia: Previous weekend brought a tumbleweed windstorm

Residents in Hillside, around 24 kilometers northwest from Melbourne, thanks to gale force winds during previous weekend, 5.-6. December 2020 covered streets and gardens with the dry grass, a pheonmenon known as a “hairy panic” or a “hairy weed invasion”.

Tumbleweed was delivered to the populated area from horse paddock, located nearby.

In February 2016, city of Wangaratta, Victoria, 230 kilometres north of Melbourne, suffered a similar invasion, covering gardens and alarming inhabitants.

According the Bureau of Meteorology, a “hairy panic” was a result of persisting hot and dry weather in the region, mainly heatwave, which hit Australia at the end of November and at the start of December 2020 /;;

According to, forecasters warned of winds that would reach 68 mph (110 km/h) in the region, but local station was measured 48 mph (78 km/h).

Severe weather led to around 200 calls from residents to the State Emergency Service. More than 160 of those calls were reporting downed trees and 23 for damaged buildings, according to / An urgent thunderstorm asthma warning was issued, and Ambulance Victoria reported an increase in calls from people struggling to breathe thanks to dust storm.

Sometimes meteorologists should think, that they have seen already everything, but always will come something new.



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Author: marekkucera
Writer about weather since 2007. The goal of this project is to inform a wide audience about extremes of weather, atmospheric circulation, and climate change around the world. If you like our work, you can support us on Patreon or donate.