Cars drive across a bridge during a sandstorm in Dubai on Sunday. AFP
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
Residents in the UAE woke up to a dust-blanketed morning on Sunday as a massive sandstorm affected several areas of the country, prompting authorities to issues weather and traffic alerts.
Homes and landmarks in major cities were caked in a fine layer of brown dirt and visibility plunged in the latest adverse weather following a series of choking dust storms around the Middle East.
Separate areas of the UAE witnessed rain of different intensity and the formation of dense dust, which led to a decrease in horizontal visibility to less than 500 metres, as a result of the country being affected by the extension of the surface air depression extending from the east to the west.
The upper atmosphere led to the flow of moist air masses from the Arabian Sea and the Sea of Oman towards the region and the country, and it will continue until next Thursday.
The formation of dust and raised dust and a low horizontal visibility of less than 1000 meters began at Al Ain International Airport and Zaaba in Al Ain city at 3:15 am, and at Abu Dhabi International Airport, Dubai International Airport, Sharjah International Airport, Al Bateen Airport in Abu Dhabi, Al Dhafra region and in separate parts of the country.
Medium to heavy rain also began on Wadi Al-Ajili, Masafi, Shoka-Al-Manai and Al-Layat Road in Ras Al-Khaimah at 3:10 pm, and heavy rain in Asfai in Fujairah, and on Sharjah-Wadi Al-Helou road and a number of areas, and the lowest temperature was recorded in the country on Sunday. 23.5°C in Jebel Jais in Ras Al Khaimah at 5:45 AM.
The National Center of Meteorology called on the public to exercise caution and caution during heavy rains and low horizontal visibility, and to stay away from the places where the valleys run. Adhere to the variable speed shown on signs and electronic sign boards, in order to preserve your safety and the safety of road users.
Abu Dhabi's official media office urged motorists to "avoid driving unless absolutely necessary."
Visibility was below 1 kilometre in Abu Dhabi and Dubai on Sunday.
Fresh winds with a speed reaching 40 km/hr. whipped up a lot of dust, which reduced the horizontal visibility to less than 500-2,000m at times over some areas of the UAE on Sunday. The Centre is advising the road users to exercise caution and not to be distracted by photographing the dust haze on the roads while driving.
The Abu Dhabi Police also urged drivers to be cautious due to low visibility caused by high winds and dust, emphasising the need to be abide by the traffic instructions to ensure everyone's safety on the road. The police also urged them not be distracted by taking any videos or using the mobile phone.
People walk up the stairs toward a bridge during a sandstorm in Dubai. AFP
In Sharjah, residents staying in the Al Taawun area could not see highrises beyond the Al Khan bridge. Thankfully, they were spared the brunt of the sun's glare because of the dust haze. There was a distinct drop in mercury levels as the heat was not oppressive. Traffic seemed to be moving at a gentle pace.
A man rides his scooter along a street during a sandstorm in Dubai. AFP
The National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) has said that the country, from Sunday until Thursday, would be affected by an extension of a surface low-pressure system, accompanied by a weak upper air low-pressure system with formation of cumulus clouds accompanied by rainfall, especially on the eastern and southern parts.
The Centre also confirmed that it was monitoring the situation around the clock and would continue to brief the public on the latest developments, calling on the public, road users and motorists to exercise precautions when driving during rain, and to avoid surface runoffs and pools of rainwater. It also appealed to members of the society to follow the bulletins and reports issued by the NCM and not to circulate rumours.
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Sharjah Police said, “We remind drivers to be careful while driving due to dust formation and dust accumulation, by leaving sufficient distance between vehicles, reducing speed, and being careful to handle the road with caution...”
The weather all around the UAE has warmed up in the last couple of days, changing the cool mornings to somewhat sunny ones.
People walk across a bridge during a sandstorm in Dubai. AFP
The weather authorities said that the country is currently under the effect of the Red Sea depression accompanied by a surface depression extending from west to east leading to increase of cloud formation over some northern, eastern and inland parts in the country.
A man crosses a street during a sandstorm in Dubai. AFP
A series of sandstorms, widely thought to be exacerbated by climate change, have smothered Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iran and others this year, closing airports and schools and sending thousands to hospital with breathing problems.
Sand storm and heavy to moderate rain were reported from parts of the UAE on Monday. Manama, Al Dhaid areas in Sharjah and Dafta in Fujairah experienced heavy rainfall on Monday, whereas Al Hiyar, Al Shuwaib and Al faqa areas in Al Ain received moderate rainfall.
NCM shared videos showing towering dust swirls over the ridges in wet and windy conditions.
The National Centre of Meteorology, NCM, has called on drivers and pedestrians to take all necessary precautions when on roads due to poor visibility owing to the fog and dust formation.
On Sunday, separate areas of the country experienced strong northwesterly to westerly winds, at a speed of 50km/h, especially at sea. The winds were dust stirring and resulted in a decrease in horizontal visibility to less than 3,000 metres at times over the open areas, especially the north and east.
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