UAE issues sandstorm weather alert with dusty conditions expected until Sunday at least

The dusty weather will descend over almost the entire UAE, with only the far western edge spared

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Forecasters have issued a countrywide alert of hazardous weather due to dust on Wednesday.

The dusty weather will descend over almost the entire UAE, with only the far western edge spared, as winds blow dust and sand, affecting visibility at times.

Conditions are expected to be particularly bad offshore in the western Arabian Gulf and the far east of the country between 8am and 9.30am.

The warning came a day after a sandstorm blanketed Abu Dhabi and Dubai, reducing visibility to a few hundred metres at times.

Abu Dhabi Police gave a warning on Wednesday, urging people to drive carefully in the forecasted hazardous conditions.

Forecasters at the National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) said temperatures will reach 39°C in Abu Dhabi and 37°C Dubai. It will be warmer in the south, with highs of 43°C.

In its outlook for the coming days, NCM said more of the same weather is expected over the next few days, with a probability of dust and sand affecting visibility up until at least Sunday.

Weather app Airpocalypse shows the air quality was bad in Abu Dhabi overnight.

Temperatures will hover around 40°C on the coast.

The bout of bad weather 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 on Tuesday, affecting visibility and air quality.

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

Sandstorms are not unusual in the UAE.

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.

Such storms typically contain silica crystals, which can aggravate asthma, as well as viruses, bacteria, dust mites, fungi and even plants.

They have even been blamed for spreading meningitis spores across Africa.

The storms can also transmit viruses such as influenza, scientists have said.

Iraq sandstorm brings country to a standstill - in pictures

Updated: May 18, 2022, 7:51 PM
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