2012 Arab News
2012-04-14 Heavy Sandstorm
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Published: Apr 14, 2012 00:38 Updated: Apr 14, 2012 00:38

A heavy sandstorm suddenly hit the Saudi capital yesterday afternoon, turning day into night with almost zero visibility, and forcing motorists to take precautionary measures by flashing hazard lights while negotiating the slow-moving traffic. The skies had been cloudy almost the whole day until it suddenly became dark in the afternoon due to the sandstorm. Motorists had to flash hazard lights to alert drivers as traffic slowed down, said Eric P. Asi , an electrical engineer at a local firm.

He said that darkness enveloped the main arteries of the capital city such as Qassim, King Fahd, Khurais and Makkah roads because of the sandstorm that started at about 5 p.m. With the sandstorm came a heavy downpour. Also strong winds buffeted the city and raked up the sand to add to our woes, added Cenon Nonie C. Sagadal, a marketing representative of a local bank, adding that the rains left some areas in the city flooded.

Earlier, the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment (PME) had issued a warning on the possibility of inclement weather in most parts of the Kingdom, prompting the Civil Defense Department to be cautious about flash floods caused by rains. PMEs spokesman Hussein Al-Qahtani said the unstable weather condition would continue for some time. The Civil Defense urged the public to keep away from pathways of flood.
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Sandstorm also hit the Eastern Province although not as strong as in the Saudi capital. Sandstorm occurred at 4:30 p.m. but it stopped when it rained. The heavy rains, accompanied by thunder and lightning, stopped at 7 p.m. and resumed at 7:45 with lightning, said Edward Rodriguez, a manager at a local firm in Alkhobar.In Qassim, sandstorm whipped the place but it dissipated by nightfall. The sandstorm, which was accompanied by strong winds, was not as strong as the sandstorm last Tuesday, said Dionisio B. Tabuco, Jr., a mechanical engineer at a local pharmaceutical company.

In Jazan, there was zero visibility not because of sandstorm but due to fog. Marcelino Valerio, a heavy equipment operator drove from Jazan proper to El-Darb some 200 km away. There was a sandstorm from Jazan proper to El-Darb but visibility was all right. However, there was zero visibility from El- Darb to Abha not because of sandstorm but due to fog , he said. In Asir, there was hail torm instead of sandstorm. Frozen rain drops as hard as balls of ice dropped in this area, said Andy Relox, statistician at King Khaled University Hospital.

He added that it had been raining in Asir for the last three days accompanied by occasional hail.

2012 Arab News
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