UAE weather: sandstorm blankets Abu Dhabi city

Flights remain unaffected by the conditions

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Latest: UAE weather alert issued as sandstorms to hit on Wednesday

A sandstorm swept across the UAE on Tuesday, reducing visibility to a few hundred metres in some areas.

The National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) said north-westerly winds of up to 40 kilometres an hour were blowing dust and sand and these conditions were expected to continue.

Residents shared photographs and videos on social media as the dust obscured the sun in some parts of the country.

Abu Dhabi's Reem Island was among the areas hit by the storm, with the dust sharply cutting visibility.

The conditions lingered into the evening, but flights in Abu Dhabi and Dubai were not affected.

Sandstorm blankets the UAE's Abu Dhabi and Dubai

Sandstorm blankets the UAE's Abu Dhabi and Dubai

Etihad Airways, Emirates and Fly Dubai all confirmed to the The National that flights were running as scheduled.

“Our operations have not been affected,” an Emirates spokesman said. “All flights are running per normal.”

Earlier, Abu Dhabi Police warned of poor visibility and urged drivers to take care.

Visibility was also reduced along the coast. In Dubai, there were hazy and dusty conditions and poor visibility.

The conditions appeared to be the tail end of a storm that covered Iraq on Monday.

Images from the EU's Copernicus satellite showed the weather front had moved south into the Gulf, leading to poor visibility and air quality.

At Doha's Hamad International Airport, visibility was reportedly down to 1,000 metres or less.

In the UAE, sandstorms are not unusual. They most often happen during the summer months and in turbulent weather, such as during the transition from winter to spring, when rising temperatures cause strong winds.

The NCM forecast more of the same for the UAE over the next few days.

Winds of up to 40 kph could kick up dust clouds on Wednesday and Thursday.

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Updated: May 18, 2022, 4:52 AM