The sandstorm engulfed the capital of Saudi Arabia and other regions of the desert kingdom on Tuesday, hampering visibility and slowing traffic.
A thick gray haze has made Riyadh’s iconic buildings, such as the Kingdom Center, almost impossible to see from a distance of more than a few hundred meters (yards), although no delays or flight cancellations have been announced.
The kingdom’s meteorological center predicts “surface dusty winds” in the east of the country and in Riyadh, “reducing horizontal visibility,” according to the official press agency of Saudi Arabia.
Dusty conditions were also expected further west in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, according to the forecast.
Electronic signs along Riyadh roads warn drivers to slow down due to poor visibility.
In the center of Riyadh, cars and buildings were covered with sand, and residents struggled to prevent it from entering their homes.
“It is very difficult to work on the street because of the dirt,” a Pakistani builder, who gave his name to Kalimul when laying tiles, told AFP.
“I try to wash my face from time to time,” the 30-year-old added, wrapping his face in a piece of cloth to block the sand.
Saudi office worker Abdullah al-Otaibi said he was grateful for working indoors.
“Dust storms are part of our culture, and we’re used to it, but some of them are serious,” said 39-year-old Al-Otaibi, rubbing his eyes as he hurried to administrative building.
Parts of Saudi Arabia typically observe sandstorms from March to May with varying intensity. Thunderstorms have become more frequent in the region in recent months.
In Iran on Tuesday, public institutions, schools and universities were closed in many provinces due to “unhealthy weather” and sandstorms, state media reported.
© 2022 AFP
Citation: Sandstorm protects the capital of Saudi Arabia in a gray mist (2022, May 17) obtained May 17, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-05-sandstorm-blankets-saudi-capital-grey.html
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