Sandstorms hit Saudi Arabia; rain expected on Friday

Sandstorm hits Riyadh, enveloping the city skyline with dust. (AN photo)
Updated 15 March 2019
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Sandstorms hit Saudi Arabia; rain expected on Friday

  • Sandstorms also enveloped Tabuk, Yanbu, Madinah, and coastal areas
  • Motorists advised to drive slow and carefully in the affected regions

RIYADH: Sandstorms shrouded a number of Saudi Arabian cities in a blanket of dust on Thursday, including Riyadh, while rain and thunderstorms are expected on Friday in central, eastern and southern parts of the Kingdom.
The General Authority for Meteorology and Environmental Protection said in a statement that “a cold wave in major parts of the Kingdom accompanied by high-speed winds causing dust storms limiting horizontal visibility” is expected on Friday.
“Moreover, rainy thunder clouds are expected to be accompanied by active winds on the southern parts of the Riyadh and the Eastern regions, as well as in the highlands of Al-Baha, Asir, Jazan and Najran,” it added.
As per the forecast, a thick blanket of sand swept through major parts of the Kingdom on Thursday, including Riyadh, Tabuk, Yanbu, Madinah, and coastal areas. The maximum temperature recorded during the storm was 31 degrees Celsius, and the minimum temperature was 15 degrees. The relative humidity was pegged at 17 percent.
In Riyadh, where a wind speed of 25 km per hour was recorded, the storm was expected to last for at least eight hours, from noon until 8 p.m.
The road safety authority and Saudi Highway Security cautioned motorists to drive slow and carefully in the affected regions, as the storms would reduce visibility considerably on most roads.
The General Directorate of Civil Defense also advised people to avoid visiting open, sandy areas during the storms. People with respiratory issues were advised to avoid going outside at all, if possible, as the weather could exacerbate their conditions.