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May Day weekend threatened by duststorms
By Liang Chao (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-04-29 06:38

Sandstorms are likely to affect the weekend weather in North China, meteorologists warned yesterday.

Massive drifting sand has since Wednesday noon swept over many areas, including the capital Beijing.

A sandstorm hits Hohhot, capital city of Northeast China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region April 28, 2005. The duststorm also affected a wide area in north China, including Beijing. [newsphoto]

Yesterday sunny skies in the capital may prove to be only a respite from the grit as a cyclone threatens to offer a repeat of late Wednesday's yellow and grey clouds that enveloped many areas.

Rush hour became sand hour as commuters fought their way home, many gasping for air as the sand mixed with pollution to form a thick fog.

"The air was suffused with sands on Wednesday afternoon, making it difficult to breath while I was rushing home," said a commuter Wang Jianda from Beijing's Wangjing neighbourhood.

Affected by an upward cyclone moving south from Mongolia, the end of the week is likely to be affected by disruptive weather which ravaged parts of Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, Hebei, Shanxi, Tianjin, Jilin and Liaoning yesterday.

"It was the third cyclone of its type and the worst of its kind to hit Beijing so far this spring," He Lifu, a senior expert for the Central Meteorological Station of China, told China Daily yesterday .

The weather worsened in Beijing in the early hours of yesterday though clearer skies appeared in the afternoon. Winds also increased.

"One of the window blinds in the balcony of my apartment was broken by a gust," said Beijing downtown resident Yao Ying.

"The sky turned into grey and yellow when I woke up this morning," she said. "I got my sunglasses and a handkerchief ready before I left for the office."

"Although the dirty weather turned into sandstorms in the mid-east of Inner Mongolia on Wednesday, it was over by noon as sunshine recurred in most of the areas," He confirmed.

Due to last winter's increased precipitation nationwide, North China has actually been spared some of the worst seasonal sand and dust storms, experts say.

(China Daily 04/29/2005 page3)

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