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Low visibility as sandstorm envelops Riyadh

Motorists had an uneasy ride during Thursday’s sandstorm in the Saudi capital. (AN photo)

RIYADH: A heavy sandstorm blanketed the Saudi capital on Thursday, making visibility 0.5 meter at times, with 40 percent humidity and partially cloudy skies.
The Presidency of Meteorology and Environment (PME) issued a warning to motorists to drive carefully due to the wind speed at 20.4km/hour, blowing north-northeast, kicking up dust that made the horizon hazy.
Cenon C. Sagadal Jr., a bank executive, said he managed to drive along King Fahd Road from the Olaya District at about 4 p.m., but could not see far into the distance.
“The atmosphere looked foggy because of the dust carried by the wind. Driving became inconvenient as some motorists drove fast, even urging drivers in front of them to drive faster,” he said.
Alex V. Bello, a Filipino expat, said motorists should be careful because accidents have happened in the past as a result of heavy sandstorms.
“It’s better to get late than to meet with an accident which could be fatal,” he said.
A sandstorm also hit Qassim in the morning, according to Christopher Agustin, who works at a local pharmaceutical company in Buraidah.
“At dawn, I noticed it, but around 9 a.m., it got over,” he said.
Residents in the Eastern Province also reported a sandstorm in the region.
“It was not too intense in Alkhobar, but workers and students in adjoining areas were asked to wear masks to protect themselves from dust,” said Florante M. Catanus, who works at a law firm.

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