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Mongolian Sandstorm Brings Dust to Beijing

Dust from the neighboring Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region blanketed Beijing on Tuesday, cutting down visibility.

A monitoring station in northern Beijing registered 1,300 gamma per stere of inhalable particles in the air, a high density of sand and dust, before noon.

The concentration of dust in four districts -- Yanqing, Changping, Shijingshan and Haidian in Beijing's northwest -- exceeded 1,400 gamma per stere at about 2:00 PM.

Zhang Rui, who works at a construction site in northern Beijing, said he felt sand in the air in the afternoon and the sky turned dark yellow at about 3pm.

Visibility was poor at Beijing International Airport, in the northeast, and the worst -- about one kilometer -- was registered at Badaling Expressway in the north, while the southern urban areas reported better visibility ranging between five km and eight km.

There were no reports of flight delays or traffic accidents.

Drizzle and a strong wind are expected to arrive tonight, helping dispel the sand and dust, meteorologists said.

The cause, a sandstorm early yesterday in Inner Mongolia is expected to last for three days.

Temperatures in eastern Inner Mongolia might drop six degrees Celsius and strong winds are expected to hit the central and western regions, according to local weather forecasts.

Floating dust also affected Tianjin, a port city in north China, yesterday, turning the sky light yellow. The light sand storm is expected to ease in the city due to a cold air mass, meteorologists said.

(Xinhua News Agency May 21. 2008)

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