Sandstorm blurs northern China over weekend
Drifting and floating dust in Beijing are expected to be gone with the wind Monday after clouding much of northern China during the weekend, said a local weatherman.
The duststorms also complicated efforts to rescue victims of an earthquake that hit the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region last week.
"The amount of drifting and floating dust - coming from the Mongolian Plateau - gradually went down over the capital city from Saturday night till Sunday," said Li Tingfu, a weatherman from Beijing Meteorological Station.
Li said Beijing will see strong winds travelling at 8 to 10 metres per second today, which are expected to blow away the floating dust.
Impacted by a strong cold front in West Siberia, dusty weather hit most of North China, covering an area of roughly 2 million square kilometres.
In parts of central and western Inner Mongolia there were sandstorms or strong sandstorms over the weekend, which cut visibility to between 100 and 400 metres in some places.
Some of the strongest dust and sandstorms so far this spring were recorded, according to sources with China Meteorological Administration.
An unusual strong sandstorm began sweeping Inner Mongolia Saturday afternoon, leaving three people missing and complicating disaster relief efforts at earthquake-hit areas in the northern region.
The sandstorm swept through the Xilingol League (prefecture) in northern Inner Mongolia that was hit by an earthquake measuring 5.9 degrees on the Richter scale last Wednesday.
More than 5,000 livestock got lost or died, said an official at the disaster relief headquarters.
Thus far, 80 per cent of the 1,500 tents put up after the earthquake have been destroyed, leaving some 10,000 earthquake victims in the open air waiting once again for help.
Starting from Saturday morning, the sandstorm, the strongest in recent years in the region, swept from west to east through Xilingol League with the maximum speed reaching 28 metres per second, lowering the visibility below 10 metres, according to the weather station.
Liu Jingtao, chief engineer at the regional meteorological bureau, said temperature in eastern and central Inner Mongolia fell below 0 C Saturday night. It is expected to further drop by 6 to 8 degrees yesterday and today.
"When the wind came, the sky turned from blue to red and then black in the afternoon," said a local resident. "I could see nothing outside the car as the visibility was even less than 10 metres," recalled a driver.