JEDDAH: Sandstorm “Madar” is expected to continue disrupting traffic and daily routines in many areas in the Kingdom on Monday, with visibility expected to drop below 2 km in several areas, according to the General Authority of Meteorology and Environmental Protection (PME).
Thunderstorms and heavy rainfall are predicted in Asir, Jazan and Najran while the wind speeds are expected to hit 55km.
Weather changes have caused flight delays and cancelations and school closures.
The dusty weather in Jeddah and other areas in the Kingdom is caused by a sandstorm that hit the Libyan desert in the past few days, and then passed through Egypt.
“We are in a transitional phase when changes in weather are expected,” Hussein Al-Qahtani, a spokesman for the PME, told Arab News.
The move from winter to spring is expected to bring rapid weather changes, strong winds and fluctuations in temperatures in the coming days, he added.
The PME issued a red color-coded warning “of severe meteorological phenomena” on Sunday due to the Madar sandstorm in some regions, including Madinah, Makkah and Riyadh. The visibility in these regions along with Al-Jouf, Tabuk, the Eastern Province and the Northern Border is expected to drop below 2 km.
“Jeddah’s case is the lowest on the scale of climate severity,” Al-Qahtani said. Yet some schools sent students home due to fears the weather conditions would worsen. Such conditions can be particularly risky for those suffering from respiratory allergies and asthma.
Dr. Hanan Fan, consultant pulmonologist at a public hospital in Jeddah, told Arab News that students with respiratory problems should take precautions if they go to school on a dusty day.
Fan advised people with asthma to stay home in such weather, keeping their windows closed. They also need to use preventer inhalers when necessary. If any dyspnea or persistent coughing occurs, a visit to an emergency unit is advised.
“In case of leaving home, you have to use the preventer inhaler 10 minutes earlier to avoid your condition (worsening) and turn into an asthma attack,” Fan said. “And, of course, don’t forget to cover your nose and mouth to stay on the safe side.”