Allow me to set the scene: The year is 2009, Kevin Rudd is prime minister (for the first time), fear of swine flu is running rampant and Aussies across the eastern states awaken on a cool spring morning to a scene from post-apocalyptic nightmares.
The natural phenomenon was the result of a dust storm that swept across much of New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT from September 22-24, 2009.
And while the idea of a dust storm may sound fairly mundane to some, more than a decade on, many Australians can still remember exactly how they felt when they awoke to those ~blood red skies~.
In a Reddit thread by u/colsterM, Aussies sounded off with their memories of the day — ranging from diarrhea-inspired anxiety to palpable relief that the end was nigh.
"I’ll never forget this day. I was 19. My alarm was 'O Fortuna' by Carl Orff. I remember my alarm going off in the morning, looked outside my window and I thought it was the day of reckoning. Almost shit myself."
"I remember how eerie it was going to school that day. They put everyone into the hall until it started to dissipate."
"It was the last few days of Year 12, I had my alarm on to get me geed up for the HSC. I was so burnt out that when I opened my eyes and assumed the world was ending, the first thought in my head was, 'Oh God, please just give me 20 more minutes of sleep'."
"I was in primary school, woke up to my alarm and looked outside my window and all I could see was a cloudy red and orange sky. I thought it was the end of the world. The memory is burned into my brain."
"I was 13 at the time. My very religious mother was crying and praying at the site of Judgement Day. I remember thinking it might just be some weird weather pattern (solar eclipse mixed with a misty fog?) and I remember it being really cold that morning, especially for late-September."
"I had spent a number of years in the Middle East, so when I woke up and saw an orange sky with sand on my windowsill, I kind of just shrugged my shoulders and figured it was a sand storm. Mind you, I don't think I ever saw a sand storm that looked quite this dramatic over there."
"One of those days you won't forget. I remember waking up early that morning very drowsy and so utterly confused as to what was going on. It was a very deep apocalypse red early on and then became a brighter brownish yellow as the morning went on."
"I was working the USYD SRC election that day and started off the morning choking in the dust outside, before everything was moved inside. Absolutely everything was covered in a layer of dust for weeks afterwards. Car washes must have done a roaring trade."
"I was working at a golf club at Terry Hills. I remember getting ready that morning at 5am and thinking: 'Something is off today'."
And finally: "Weird how much has changed. Reminds me of the weeks of the dust storm/bushfire smoke that we all thought was so apocalyptic. Then 2020 happened and now we've had a huge earthquake in Victoria. You can't make this shit up."
Do you remember how you felt on the morning of the great red storm? Let us know in the comments below!
Responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.