URUMQI -- A sandstorm in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region which began last Friday has led to the cancellation of 27 flights and the postponing of another 10, the local civil aviation authority said on Wednesday.
Floating dust reduced visibility below 1,000 meters at five local airports in Urumqi, Kashi, Aksu, Kuqa and Korla starting on Friday, said an air traffic control official at the civil aviation administration in Xinjiang.
On Sunday alone, when visibility was around 800 meters in some regions, 11 flights were canceled, including seven between Urumqi and Aksu and four to Kashi and Kuqa.
The sandstorm, the worst in Xinjiang this spring, was caused by a cold current from the north and affected the Tarim Basin in southern Xinjiang, the meteorological station in Kashi said.
"The wind swept sand from the Tarim Basin to form a dusty blanket over Kashi, Aksu and several other places on the southern rim of the Basin," said a spokesman with the station.
Dusty weather and sandstorm also affected central and western Gansu province, most of Inner Mongolia, northern Shaanxi, and Liaoning and Jilin provinces in the past weeks, according to China Meteorological Administration.
A sandstorm is defined as dusty weather with a visibility below 1,000 meters.