Major sandstorm sweeps through northwest China

Major sandstorm sweeps through northwest China

A major sandstorm has swept through parts of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on May 1, 2016, and continued into May 2, disrupting traffic and causing severe air pollution.

The sandstorm has struck some counties in south Xinjiang since Saturday night, April 30. In Kuche County, the storm reduced the visibility to less than 200 meters (650 feet) in urban areas, made vehicles parked in the open air covered with dirt and caused inconvenience for residents' travel, CCTV reports.

The event also led to the cancellation of many flights from Kuche to Urumchi, the regional capital of Xinjiang. 

In Korla and Makid counties, it significantly slowed down traffic and caused residents to suffer breathing difficulties. Local traffic police have reinforced their troops to direct traffic at major road sections. 

Another sandstorm, coupled with winds of up to 70 km/h (43.5 mph), has also hit Golmud County in Haixi Mongol and Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Qinghai Province.

Video courtesy CCTV

Satellite imagery below, courtesy of Suomi NPP, shows the extent of the sandstorm on May 1 and 2. The first image is taken on April 30, before the sandstorm.

Image credit: NASA/NOAA/DoD Suomi NPP / VIIRS. Date acquired: April 30, 2016

Image credit: NASA/NOAA/DoD Suomi NPP / VIIRS. Date acquired: May 1, 2016

Image credit: NASA/NOAA/DoD Suomi NPP / VIIRS. Date acquired: May 2, 2016

Featured image: Sandstorm hits northwest China on May 1, 2016. Credit: CCTV

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