Life in Qatar has been hit by dust whipped up by a persistent wind that has refused to die down for the past two days and there will hardly be any respite today either as similar conditions are expected to continue for the next 24 hours, according to the Weather Office.
The unstable weather is expected to subside from tomorrow afternoon, an official said.
The head of Forecasting at the Department of Meteorology in the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority, Abdulla al-Mannai, said the country would experience windy conditions throughout this week, but the intensity of the wind would be less severe compared to the “storm” on Friday “which was a rare occurrence”.
With the weakening wind, there would be a corresponding improvement in the dusty environs, he said.
The official attributed the marginal fall in temperature to the windy conditions.
“When the stormy conditions started in the early hours of Friday, a forecast was made that it would continue for at least 72 hours, even though there will be a gradual fall in the intensity of the wind,” he said, while adding that the warning issued to seafarers would continue to be in force for the time being.
He felt there was “nothing unusual” in the prevailing windy and dusty conditions as they are “normal” during this part of the year in the region. “It is a seasonal phenomenon.”
The official said visibility had been reduced to below 5,000 metres and at times, in particular in the desert areas and its immediate surroundings, it dipped to 2,000 metres or even below.
The wind and dust have affected the flow of traffic on the country’s roads and caused many accidents .
Arabic daily Arrayah reported a pile-up involving 10 vehicles on the Al Khor road on Friday. Several people were injured in the crash.
Quoting a Ministry of Interior official , the daily said the Al Khor road was temporarily closed because of poor visibility and the sandstorm. The Traffic Department has urged motorists to exercise utmost caution while driving on the coastal North road and the Abu Samra road. Drivers have also been asked to maintain a safe distance between the vehicles in the front and the rear.
“In order to address the situation, emergency teams were formed in the Ministry of Municipality, the Ministry of Interior, the Hamad General Hospital, Children’s Emergency Hospital and the Traffic Department,” Arrayah said.
The sandstorm has triggered health problems, said sources in the Hamad Hospital. The emergency sections in hospitals under the Hamad Medical Corporation have witnessed a noticeable increase in the number of patients.
Doctors have urged the public to keep doors and windows closed and avoid taking children to open places.
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