You know it is not like you can't see anything at all, on good nights I have seen mottling and dark areas - but not at all like a normal apparition for sure.
The trick this time is that even when I can see features, I have no idea what part of Mars I am looking at anymore. Normally you can quickly figure out where you are based on three regions; are you looking at Syrtis Major region mostly or more centered around Sinus Meridian - if not then you are on the other side of Mars - the boring side.
Now I am lost at the eyepiece - when I can see some dark areas and mottling they don't seem to map to my memory any of those three regions.
So it is more like looking at some new planet. Not sure what the mottling that IS visible represents - its not elevation. Kind of weird actually.
Well, basically we see through storm clouds(or more precisely we see through DUST clouds) . When they are not very dense in nature we could glimpse on some surface features. I think the explanation is that the huge cloud has variable density so we can still see something under the dust storm, but very pale and blurred and not easy to identify as you describe it. Even if everything will settle quickly(witch at this point is quite clear that will not be the case) we will still have blurred features because all this dust covering the surface. It is like a desert sand storm, only with this pale brown/pinkish martian dust. You can go to NASA site and they have published pictures of the storm from the ground robots. This are absolutely stunning, you really need to check them out.