School closures announced as sandstorms expected to continue till Thursday

Source: Times of Oman | By Muhaimin Sada | Published on 12th April 2017, 6:30 PM | Gulf News |

JEDDAH: All schools in the Makkah region will remain closed on Wednesday due to bad weather, according to the Saudi Press Agency.
An unexpected sandstorm struck the Kingdom on Tuesday, severely limiting visibility, disrupting traffic and making sure that no one puts out their laundry to dry.
Jeddah, Riyadh, Makkah, Madinah and the Qassim and Eastern provinces were the hardest hit with wind speeds reaching 55 kilometers per hour.
Mohammad Al-Qahtani, a spokesman for the General Authority of Meteorology and Environmental Protection (PME), told Arab News the sandstorm will continue at least through Thursday and then gradually weaken.
“The sandstorm in going to be worsen by Wednesday and will last for two days,” said Al-Qahtani, who noted that the storm was unexpected.
The sandstorm arrived in Saudi Arabia just three weeks after the North African sandstorm Madar covered most of the Kingdom.
In addition to the poor air quality, temperatures were expected Wednesday and Thursday to reach a stifling 39 C.
Authorities warned of reduced visibility due to blowing. The Saudi Press Agency reported “low visibility is going to be less than one kilometer.”
A spokesman of Saudi Arabian Airlines told Arab News, “There are no flights delaying for today, the situation is under control.”
People outdoors, including students on their way home from, suffered from the airborne sand.
A spokesman for Bugshan Hospital reported an increase in patients complaining of breathing difficulties because of the sand. It is recommended that people outdoors should cover their faces to avoid harmful particles.
It is also recommended that individuals with breathing difficulties remain at home and use air purifiers.

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