Sandstorm hits Riyadh, rain tipped for Makkah

1 / 2
Sandstorms shrouded a number of cities in Saudi Arabia, including the capital Riyadh, in dust on Tuesday. (AN Photo)
2 / 2
Sandstorms shrouded a number of cities in Saudi Arabia, including the capital Riyadh, in dust on Tuesday. (AN Photo)
Updated 14 August 2019

Sandstorm hits Riyadh, rain tipped for Makkah

  • Rain showers with strong winds have been forecast for parts of the Madinah highlands
  • Wind speeds of up to 34 km per hour were recorded in Riyadh

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.


Two new academies to boost Saudi arts, heritage and music

Updated 19 August 2019

Two new academies to boost Saudi arts, heritage and music

  • One academy specializing in heritage and traditional arts and crafts will start receiving applications in autumn 2020
  • A second academy dedicated to music will receive 1,000 students and trainees from 2021

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia is to set up arts academies, including two in the next two years, offering a step toward academic qualification and enlarging the Kingdom’s footprint in heritage, arts and crafts, and music.

The initiative is part of the Ministry of Culture’s Quality of Life program. 

The minister, Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan, said investment in “capacity building” was one of the most important elements in encouraging the cultural sector, which enjoyed unlimited support from King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The Kingdom was rich in diverse arts, talents and artistic production, Prince Badr said, and the academies would be a first step toward academic qualification in the arts within the Kingdom.

One academy specializing in heritage and traditional arts and crafts will start receiving applications in autumn 2020, targeting 1,000 students and trainees in long- and short-term programs. 

A second academy dedicated to music will receive 1,000 students and trainees from 2021.

The music academy in particular will be “the core of music production and talent development in Saudi Arabia,” Saudi musician, composer and producer Mamdouh Saif told Arab News.

The music industry was a large and diverse field, Saif said, and education was crucial. 

“The academy is the right place to launch the music industry in Saudi Arabia, and it will have a significant impact on Saudi youth, and young people in surrounding countries,” he said.

He expects “a very high turnout” for the academy among young Saudis. 

“Due to my expertise in this area, I receive many questions from people who want to learn music, but through private lessons,” he said.

“But the availability of an academy for this purpose, that teaches music in a methodological way, will be the right start for those interested in music.”