Severe sandstorm strikes China

A severe sandstorm has struck north-west China over the past few weeks, reaching Beijing on Saturday morning. The sandstorm, which covered homes, streets, and cars in dust, has left the sky a murky yellow.

The air quality was rated as level five. Beijing’s Weather Bureau issued a warning for the sandstorm, and advised citizens to stay in their homes until it passes. As much as 1500 micrograms per cubic meter of dust were reported to be airborne.

Beijing has experienced unusually cold weather this year, with temperatures below freezing at night, even after the start of spring. The sandstorm is affecting more than 50 million people, and forecasters do not see signs of it stopping soon.

The desertification of the western China and the Mongolian steppes has made the annual spring sandstorm become worse in the recent years, reaching countries such as South Korea and Japan. The sandstorm has turned the rain and snow yellow.

The storm also impacted Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, Shanxi, Shaanxi, and Hebei for a total of 270 million people over an area of 1.8 million square kilometers. It is expected the storm will last until Monday.

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