The 828-metre-high Burj Khalifa, which soars over Dubai and is usually seen from across, is now lost in the dust that blankets much of the UAE.
The UAE is the latest country in the path of a sandstorm that has hit Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iran and others in recent days. Airports and schools were closed, and thousands of people were hospitalized with breathing problems.
The capital Abu Dhabi’s air quality index (AQI) jumped to the “dangerous” zone overnight, according to waqi.info and Plume pollution app cited AFP.
Sandstorms in the Middle East are becoming more frequent and intense, a trend linked to overgrazing and deforestation, overuse of river water, and more dams.
According to experts, the phenomenon could worsen as climate change disrupts regional weather patterns and increases the chances of desertification.
Emirati authorities later issued a national warning urging citizens to remain vigilant.
“Abu Dhabi Police urge drivers to be careful due to low visibility during high winds and dust,” the UAE police wrote on Twitter as residents posted photos and videos on social media.
“Please don’t be distracted by taking videos or using your phone,” he added.
The National Center for Meteorology’s chart shows almost the entire UAE being covered by the storm. They warned, “Be alert: hazardous weather events are expected.”
Winds of up to 40 kilometers per hour blew away dust, he said, reducing visibility in some areas to less than 2,000 meters.
However, a Dubai airport spokesman said there was no impact on air traffic. Weather conditions are expected to remain the same over the next few days.
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