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Sandstorm Hits Xinjiang, Causing Temporary Power Outage

A strong sandstorm with high winds hit the southern part of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Tuesday, affecting local traffic and causing a temporary blackout in some areas. 


Hotan, Yutian and Qira were the worst hit areas with visibility at some points less than 50 meters after sand was brought in from the Taklimakan Desert in southern Xinjiang.


The Taklimakan Desert is the second largest shifting desert in the world with a total area of 337,600 square kilometers.


The sandstorm and gales also caused a two-hour power outage in Yutian County. The power had resumed Tuesday evening.


A traffic policeman in Qira said they received orders to close highway sections due to safety concerns.


The sandstorm will last until Wednesday, but light rainfall on Tuesday evening could weaken the sandstorm, according to Wang Yongli, a weather forecaster with the Hotan meteorological station.


Xinjiang is believed to be one of the sources of dust or sand storms commonly seen in spring in northern China.


(Xinhua News Agency May 9, 2007)

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