Watch: Dubai resident's video captures monster sandstorm during drive from Eid holiday in Oman

The expat shared his dashcam footage to show the intensity of the dust storm and described it as 'strongest sandstorm we've ever encountered'


Ajanta Paul

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Published: Mon 3 Jul 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Mon 11 Dec 2023, 2:06 PM

Dubai resident Gavril Mankoo recently had an eventful drive back after his Eid Al Adha holiday in Salalah, Oman. After enjoying a six-day stay amidst the misty hills of Salalah, Gavril started his journey back home to Dubai on the evening of July 1, not knowing the freaky weather he and his companions would face.

Leaving behind the cloudy skies of Salalah in the Dhofar Governorate, Gavril set off on the Salalah-Nizwah-Ibri-Dubai highway. However, as he and his wife, his brother and sister-in-law drove towards Dubai, around 6.17pm they were suddenly caught in an unprecedented sandstorm.

Map shows where the sandstorm hit
Map shows where the sandstorm hit

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Gavril, who is the head of social media of an Emirati retail conglomerate, said, "This was the strongest sandstorm we've ever encountered, with powerful winds whipping up dust and reducing visibility to dangerous levels. At one point, driving became hazardous." The expat shared his dashcam footage to show the intensity of the sandstorm, which was accompanied by light showers.

Watch the video below:

Sharjah resident Safwan Khan was also travelling back to UAE with his family after spending part of his Eid holidays in Oman. The intensity of the sandstorm took him by surprise. "It started around 5:45 pm, but I continued driving till 6:15 pm until visibility dropped down completely. I had to pull over on the hard shoulder for our safety."

The sandstorm severely affected motorists travelling between the Haima and Nizwah area on Route 31. Many drivers heading towards the UAE had to pull over and park on the side of the road in order to ensure their safety and avoid any potential accidents on the single-lane route. It was only after crossing Nizwah the sandstorm subsided.

On July 1, authorities in Oman, including the Royal Oman Police, warned motorists about the deteriorating visibility caused by a sandstorm. ROP's tweet alerted drivers: "Low horizontal visibility due to the rising of dust due to active winds, and the accumulation of sand on both sides of the road. Please pay attention".

The authorities urged drivers to exercise caution and prioritise their safety while navigating through these challenging conditions.

Gavril recalled, "We literally drove straight into it unknowingly on the expressway and only realised how bad it was when we simply couldn't move forward. We stopped on the hard shoulder with a few vehicles ahead and behind us, as driving with that low visibility is not advisable. We could barely see beyond the hood of the car."

Watch the vehicles at a standstill:

The Oman Met Department has also warned drivers of reduced visibility. "Strong winds to cause reduced horizontal visibility in Al Wusta and Dhofar Governorates and to cause travel disruptions. Please beware of road users and motorists of wind speeds."

The Oman Meteorological Office forecasted rain for most governorates from Wednesday. The weather department also predicted adverse weather for July 1, "Advection of high and medium clouds and chances of convective clouds development associated with isolated rain, occasionally thundershowers may cause Wadis flow and strong downdraft winds over parts of Al Hajar Mountains and adjoining areas towards the afternoon."

There were reports of thunderstorm and rainfall over parts of the Al Hajar Mountains, Nizwah and neighbouring areas.

Damages in the car

So harsh was the storm that it damaged Gavril's black SUV's windshield and paint. The following day he couldn't believe what he saw. "At first, we thought it was dust. The sand has actually chipped away the paint majorly on one side and small specs on the other. The windshield and headlights are sandblasted too."

Gavril said his car suffered substantial damages. "After taking it to a detailing shop, they advised against washing it or machine polishing it as it'll worsen. Repainting is my only option, and the windshield and glasses also need to change." But the Indian expat is also grateful his family is safe after driving through the terrible sandstorm.

Will insurance cover the damages?

Car owners who have comprehensive insurance policies can claim damages caused by the rains/weather-related damages in the UAE. Third-party insurance policies do not cover rain-related car damages. Unless authorities declare the situation a natural disaster, the claim is covered according to the type of insurance the motorist selects.

Comprehensive motor insurance is generally optional, although it is suggested that motorists opt for the coverage for a wider range of benefits and numerous coverage inclusions. Third-party liability car insurance does not provide any sort of coverage against natural calamities such as rain-related damages.


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