Heavy sandstorm hits UAE

DUBAI — Dubai and Northern Emirates witnessed extremely hazy conditions following a sandstorm hitting the region yesterday afternoon.

By A Staff Reporter

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Published: Wed 6 Sep 2006, 9:45 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 8:19 PM

It was sunny and the skies were clear until the afternoon. But around 3pm, a heavy sandstorm suddenly hit the emirates resulting in a sharp change in the weather. The sky was soon covered with thick dark clouds and strong, dusty winds lashed the area till late evening.

According to Dr. G.K. Gupta, forecaster, Meteorological office at Dubai International Airport, “Thunder activities developed in the eastern part of Fujairah and swiftly moved west covering Dubai and Northern Emirates.”

Motorists caught off guard in the strong dust storm were reportedly stranded on roads as visibility levels dropped dramatically to less than 100 metres. Several flights at Dubai and Sharjah International Airports were reportedly delayed and re-routed to Abu Dhabi due to bad weather conditions. Swimmers and picnickers were warned to stay away from beaches.

“We issued warnings to airports and other authorities concerned about a possible sandstorm at 1pm. A sandstorm is likely to hit again in the coming days,” said the forecaster.

The maximum temperature recorded at the Met Office was 39 degrees C and minimum at 32 degrees C. The wind velocity was comparatively strong at 35 to 40 nautical miles per hour. Visibility dropped when the sand storm hit the emirate to less than 100 metres, the forecaster said. However, comfort levels were good yesterday as the humidity recorded was also very low.

Meanwhile, the sudden drastic change in the weather caused some chaos for residents and also resulted in some minor road accidents in Dubai and Sharjah, police sources said.

Due to the thick cloud of dust that enveloped the Emirates, the Flight Information Desk at Dubai International Airport reported some delays in the flight operations of both inbound and outbound flights. However, despite delays, no flight was cancelled.

At the Sharjah International Airport, two Air Arabia flights — one from Damascus and one from Alexandria — were re-routed to Abu Dhabi but later landed in Sharjah after an hour .

Ajman police officials reported no accidents, but there were two road accidents in Sharjah — which officials claimed may not have been due to the bad weather conditions.

The weather in Fujairah also took a turn with moderate and heavy rains in different parts of the emirate such as Al Sijy, Thoban and Masafi, yesterday afternoon. The rains eased the sandstorm that hit parts of the country, as the dust almost left no visibility. Al Sijy area witnessed heavy rains during the past days, what led to power outage in the area. The Emirate of Fujairah as well witnessed a noticeable change in temperature, as it fell below the average.

Al Ain residents also suffered poor visibility as the sandstorm covered the area. However, an official from the Al Ain International Airport observation tower said all flight operations were normal.

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