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.
In neighbouring Iraq, sandstorms — at least eight since April — have landed thousands in hospitals with severe respiratory problems and killed at least one person.
A massive sandstorm engulfed UAE on Tuesday reducing visibility to less than 100 metres. The sudden change in weather condition led the authorities to reduce speed limits on some roads and issue traffic alert.
A sandstorm blanketed parts of the Middle East on Monday, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Syria and Iran, sending people to hospitals and disrupting flights in some places.
The UAE's National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) has issued a duststorm warning for Monday. It said that a duststorm is likely to affect the western part of UAE tomorrow.
Videos circulating on social networks show the city of just over 12,000 inhabitants being swallowed by the dust storm in the late afternoon.
Meteorologists have sent out a warning to residents to remain indoors and shut windows as more storms are expected on Tuesday.
This is the second sandstorm in two weeks in the city due to winds from drought-hit Mongolia and northwestern China.
Skyscrapers in the center of Beijing appeared to drop from sight amid the dust and sand. Traffic was snarled and more than 400 flights out of the capital’s two main airports were canceled before noon.
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.