RIYADH: Sandstorms shrouded a number of cities in Saudi Arabia, including the capital Riyadh, in dust on Tuesday, while rain and thunderstorms were forecast for western and southern parts of the Kingdom.
Strong, dust-laden winds and thunderstorms are likely in the Jazan, Asir, Baha and Makkah regions, including Makkah city and the holy sites, on Tuesday and Wednesday, the General Authority of Meteorology and Environment Protection said.
Widespread dust storms are predicted in Najran and parts of the central region.
Moderate to heavy thunderstorms accompanied by widespread dust will limit visibility in these regions, the meteorology authority’s website warned.
Rain showers with strong winds have been forecast for parts of the Madinah highlands, it added.
The authority said that the surface wind movement in the Red Sea is westerly-southerly to westerly-northerly at 16-38 km per hour, while surface wind movement in the Arabian Gulf is easterly-southerly to southerly at 14-36 km per hour.
A rise in humidity in the eastern region has also been forecast.
The road safety authority and Saudi Highway Security warned drivers in the Riyadh region to exercise caution due to poor visibility caused by dust.
People with respiratory problems were also advised to avoid going outside where possible because of the risks of breathing problems associated with sandstorms.
Wind speeds of up to 34 km per hour were recorded in Riyadh.
Though not infrequent at this time of year, the sandstorm brought unfavorable conditions, with a maximum temperature of 43 C and a minimum of 31 C.
Relative humidity in Riyadh was low at 8 percent.