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Sandstorm tears across Kuwait


TWN viewer Ehab captured this picture of the approaching storm
TWN viewer Ehab captured this picture of the approaching storm

Alexandra Pope, staff writer

March 26, 2011 — Kuwait's international airport was closed and oil exports were halted when an unexpected and violent sandstorm blasted through the desert nation Friday.

The storm began in the late afternoon when winds of more than 80 kilometres per hour associated with a strong low pressure system near the Iraq border whipped up a dense wall of sand, according to local media.

Weather Network fan Ehab, who posted a picture of the approaching storm in our Weather Gallery, said he was hanging out with friends when another friend called to say the sky had gone “totally dark” just a few kilometres away.

“Immediately we left the place, running toward home, and in 10 minutes the whole area was full of dust everywhere -- in the air, inside the building and my home,” he said in an email.

The storm reduced visibility to 500 meters or less, stranding drivers on the highway, and the thick dust forced people on the ground to breathe through wet towels.

The storm, which fizzled out around midnight, prompted officials in the nearby United Arab Emirates to warn people to stay indoors.

With files from Emirates 24/7

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