Dubai is often in the news for its huge engineering projects which often show the extreme lengths that man will go to in order to subdue and overcome the forces of Nature, but the latest events show that there are some natural phenomena that the emirate cannot master. A huge sandstorm has enveloped the city, reducing visibility to a minimum and leaving residents with difficulties breathing, according to the BBC.

Huge Sandstorm Hits UAE, Dubai Skyline Obscured

Transport links disrupted by sandstorm

High winds whipped up the desert sands into a thick orange haze in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, before moving across the Gulf. Both of Dubai’s international airports have been severely affected, with many flights diverted away from the Gulf, leaving passengers stranded.

“Bad weather conditions persisting across the Gulf region since morning have affected normal operations at Dubai International (DXB) and Al Maktoum International (DWC),” read a statement from Dubai Airports, which operates both facilities.

Police in Abu Dhabi claim that accidents have already been caused due to reduced visibility, and weather forecasters say that it could last for days. According to police reports, a 24-year-old was airlifted to hospital after suffering serious injuries in one traffic accident.

Advice for residents

Sandstorms are a regular occurrence in the region, but some locals have been shocked by the severity of recent weather. “Last time, I have seen [a storm], it was not up to this,” said one Dubai resident. “I felt very bad, and I hear that there were some accidents already on Dubai’s roads.”

Visibility could be reduced to as little as 500 meters, according to the United Arab Emirates’ National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology. Residents are advised to wear a fine cloth over their mouth and eyes to filter out fine dust particles, as well as eye protection to prevent damage from those particles.

Washing hands and bathing after venturing outside is advisable in order to clean the body of allergens that my be contained in the sand, and residents should be careful to remain well hydrated for the duration of the storm.