Arab World: Gasping for Air!

A massive dust storm engulfed the entire Arabian peninsula, leaving the people of Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates, gasping for air.

Kuwait Cats in the dust

Usual for this time of the year, in Kuwait schools and public departments closed early on the day of the storm, as dusty gusts picked up speeds of up to 85km per hour, halting oil exports in the oil-rich emirate.

YouTube user q8lightning posts this video:

He further explains:

A sandstorm blew dust from Tuesday night and got worst in the next day Kuwait is now in the middle of winter and sandstorms are already blowing thats because we didnt get enough rain until now.

At Travel Off the Cuff, a message board for travellers, Mark Wolinski complains:

I arrived in Kuwait last night only to find that the dust storm which had descended over Bahrain was even worse in Kuwait. I looked out of the window of the plane and it was a wall of beige.

Perfect Dust View from Kuwait

And still in Kuwait, Flickr user Mink posts the pictures above, with the following explanation for the first picture:

Two Black Cats Watching from atop the wooden fence. It's the first major dust storm in 2009 and it hit really hard. The skies were orange and the air laden with thick dust. When it fell within the next few days, it took a long time to clean up

describes her second shot as:

A perfect view of a sandstorm

And for Granola Girl, dust is one of many reasons for her to pack up her bags and bid Kuwait goodbye:

Lebanon is the only country in the Middle East without a desert. Today, after waking up to howling winds at 2:00am and not sleeping well after that and then inhaling dust all day in a bad sand storm, I am very happy to leave the desert behind.

In nearby Khobar, in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, Assad Abu Hussain [Ar] posts a few pictures and calls upon his readers to pray to God for forgiveness and rain.

Still in the Eastern Province, Abu Omar posts more pictures of the dusty horizons on Aswaq City [Ar]. He also cautions his readers saying:

عند تمام الساعة السابعة صباحا بدء الجو يتغير في لونه حتى اصبح مائلا الى اللون الاحمر مع ازدياد في الهواء وبعد ذلك بدقائق اصبح الجو شبه عديم الرئوية و يجب اخذ الحيطة والحذر وعدم السرعة الزائدة على الطرقات مع التأكد من اغلاق جميع النوافذ في المنزل وعدم تشغيل مراوح الشفط لعدم دخول الاتربة في المنازل
At 7am this morning, the weather started changing until the horizon turned almost red, and the winds picked up. Very soon, visibility dropped and drivers should be careful and not speed. Also remember to close all your house windows and not switch on the exhaust fans, so that the dust does not enter your homes.

Moving to Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, Rusha also posts pictures from the storm and offers us an explanation about the different types of sand bowls you could expect to find yourself in the desert of Arabia:

Fine dust blows into everything, coming in through every crack- windows, doors, air conditioning vents, exhaust vents. Breathing is labored as it gets into your lungs. Land and air visibility is greatly reduced. People wax poetic about shamals, I tend to cough.

Looking up the various types, remember my last post about driving through a sandstorm with intermittent rain? That is officially called a haboob.

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