Sandstorm hits UAE, poor visibility disrupts flights

02:14 PM | 2 Apr, 2015
Sandstorm hits UAE, poor visibility disrupts flights
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ABU DHABI (Web Desk) - Dust and sand storms led to low visibility across the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Thursday morning.

The National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology warned motorists about the poor driving conditions, with visibility down to less than 500 metres in some areas.

Abu Dhabi and Dubai police urged motorists to drive with caution, with the latter reminding drivers to keep their car lights on and leave a safe distance between other cars.

Abu Dhabi Police said a 24-year-old woman was flown to hospital after being injured in a crash on the Dubai-Al Ain Road at 6am.

“I urge motorists to reduce their speed, maintain enough space between vehicles, and check for any debris on the road to avoid accidents,” said Lt Col Jamal Al Ameri, head of public relations at the Traffic and Patrols Directorate.

“Drivers are also advised against parking near buildings which are under construction.”

Later on in the morning, motorists in Dubai reported that visibility had further decreased in Jebel Ali, to around 100m.

The western region, including Al Ghuwaifat and Al Silaa, was one of the first areas affected by the sandstorm.

People heading offshore should also take care, with the weather bureau warning of strong winds and rough seas around the Arabian Gulf and moderately disturbed seas in the Sea of Oman.

The cloudy and dusty weather is set to continue over the weekend, especially over rural areas.

The conditions prompted health warnings from the National Emergency and Crisis Disaster Management Authority, which advised adults and children with asthma or allergies to stay indoors.

Dubai Airports also issued a statement via Twitter alerting passengers to delays.

“Normal operations have been disrupted at DXB & DWC [Dubai World Central] due to bad weather across GCC. Check with your airline for updates.

“Passengers can also check http://www.dubaiairports.ae for arrival and departure times and for updates/advisory.”