Fog blanketed cities in Saudi Arabia and a dust storm enveloped skies because of wind traveling at a speed of 55 km per hour, the General Presidency for Meteorology and Environmental Protection reported on Sunday.
According to a Saudi Gazette report, there would be dust storm and fog covering nine provinces in the Kingdom. “The wind is causing fog in the Northern Borders, Jouf, Tabuk, Madinah, Makkah, Hail, Qassim, Riyadh and the Eastern Province. There is also a chance of thunder clouds and rain on the southwestern heights,” the newspaper quoted the source as saying.
The public has been advised to take caution while on the streets. The week on Sunday began with adverse weather conditions and all major regions have been witnessing strong winds and poor visibility due to storms.
According to reports, both the Arabian Gulf and Oman Sea will be rough on Monday and rough to very rough on Tuesday with wave heights of 4ft to 6ft offshore, reaching 7ft in the Arabian Gulf and 4ft to 6ft, reaching 8ft in Oman Sea.
Thunder rain likely
Riyadh Civil Defense spokesman Capt. Mohammad Al-Hammady said he predicts Riyadh will have a foggy weather with thunder rain until next week. “Visibility will be poor. The public is advised to stay indoors and only leave for emergencies. The public is also advised to take extra caution when driving on highways,” Al-Hammady said.
Authorities have suspended classes in some provinces and health and Civil Defense emergency teams have been equipped to deal with the conditions. In Jeddah and other parts of the Makkah region poor visibility and dusty weather began Saturday night and gradually intensified on Sunday.
“We have received over 13 cases mostly respiratory,” said Abdullah Abuzaid of Saudi Red Crescent Authority in Jeddah on Sunday. He expected the number to grow and ambulance teams have been put on the ready. “We request all citizens and expatriates to be cautious due to bad weather conditions in Jeddah and other parts of the province,” advised Col. Saeed Sarhan, spokesperson of Civil Defense in the province.
Call for precautions
Abuzaid also urged people to avoid trees, lampposts and hoardings etc. He added they should not be exposed to dust and asked parents to not to let their children venture outside.
Though the visibility was poor the vehicular traffic passed through Haramain Expressway connecting Madinah and Makkah, one of the busiest highways in Kingdom, without any difficulties.
The holy city of Makkah witnessed a downpour on Sunday morning, according to residents. “After dusty morning there was light to moderate rain that lasted few minutes in the city,” said Mohammed Moqeem, a paramedic in Makkah.
Ophthalmology consultant Dr. Yasser Al-Mazroui said patients who have had surgery done to their eyes and patients who wear contact lenses are advised to stay indoors due to the weather.
“Patients who have undergone any surgery to their eyes have very sensitive eyes that must not be exposed to fog and dust. It is very dangerous to have dust in the eyes of a patient who recently had an eye surgery,” said Al-Mazroui.
Dusty conditions in the UAE
Meanwhile, authorities in the UAE have said that a deepening of the upper air layers and surface low pressure in the atmosphere will cause weather fluctuations on Monday and Tuesday, resulting in hazy or dusty conditions in general.
“The amount of clouds may increase by Monday night that may bring a chance of scattered light rain over the coasts, islands and some northern and eastern areas,” a weather alert from the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS) said.
According to NCMS, the moderate southeasterly to northeasterly wind will switch to northwesterly winds by Monday afternoon from the western region and extending to the rest of the country by Tuesday and Wednesday. “A drop in temperatures of about 4C to 5C may happen, bringing average temperatures to 23C to 25C in some parts of the country,” it said.