Schools closed as sandstorm sweeps through Riyadh

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Sandstorm prompted school closures in Riyadh province

Feb 26, 2020

February 26, 2020

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A severe sandstorm swept through parts of Riyadh on Tuesday, prompting school closures and bringing heavy winds and limited visibility to the Saudi province.

Saudi Arabia's meteorological authority issued warnings about the strong winds whipping several parts of the province as a result of a storm system moving through the region.

With sand whirling through the air, visibility was reduced as skies over Riyadh darkened, blanketing parts of the city in an orange hue.

The severity of the sandstorms prompted the department of education in Al Quwayiyah to close all schools in the area, including in the neighbouring cities of Ar Ruwaidhah and Ar Rayn.

The storm system passed through Al Muzahmiya, Huraymila, and Al Quwayiyah before reaching south Riyadh.

In response to the sandstorm and fluctuating weather, an announcement was made by the General Directorate of Health Affairs in Riyadh that all hospitals in the region had raised their preparedness level to handle any increase in respiratory cases, pointing out that 581 emergency cases were received by hospitals.

Videos posted to social media showed near-zero visibility conditions in Riyadh, with darkened skies and strong winds enveloping parts of the province.

This week, severe sandstorms shrouded Spain's Canary Islands, affecting flights and preventing water-dropping aircraft from putting out wildfires near Tasarte and Tenerife, resulting in 1,500 locals and tourists leaving the areas due to the threat from the blazes.

Updated: February 26, 2020 11:42 AM

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