Amateur photographer's stunning image of Dubai Marina sheds new light on sandstorms

Landmark towers seem to rise up out of the sand amid 'unprecedented' weather across the region

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The towers appear to rise up out of the haze, like a scene from a post-apocalyptic movie set centuries in the future.

Except this is Dubai Marina and the image was shot on Tuesday, when the UAE was in the grip of the tail end of a dust storm that had swept in from Iraq.

It was taken by amateur photographer Nilesh Trivedi from the balcony of his home in the Lakes at dusk.

“It was so unusual to see that,” said Mr Trivedi, 49, from Zimbabwe, who has lived in the UAE for 15 years.

“It was as if the buildings were rising out of the dust, the desert. It almost looked like a modern Arabian Nights kind of scene.

“You don’t normally see this amount of dust in the air in Dubai. This was really something unprecedented.”

Mr Trivedi first got into nature photography back home, and became interested in weather after his move.

He now heads out in any type of unusual conditions, tipped off by meteorology hobbyist Howard Townsend, who runs the Unofficial UAE Weather and Information group on Facebook.

Mr Trivedi shares all his pictures of the sky around Dubai on the social media page, sometimes attracting dozens of likes and comments.

“I am very interested in finding out what the weather conditions are going to be like," he said. "It’s always nice to have a little bit of notice to know when lightning is going to come or it’s going to be cloudy.

“So I joined the group for that. And through that I have come to know you get a bit of advanced notice to know when there will be a change in the weather. That helps me to be ready.”

The UAE has been experiencing severe dust storms since Tuesday.

Official weather stations have been registering hazardous air quality in many areas since, with the scale reaching as high as 684 near Al Ain on Thursday morning. Experts say anything higher than 250 can have an immediate effect on health.

The hot and dusty conditions will remain for the next few days, with National Centre of Meteorology issuing a warning of blowing sand and dust until Sunday.

Sand and dust storms hit parts of the Mena region - in pictures

Updated: May 19, 2022, 1:50 PM