Skip to main content
News |

Large sandstorm whips GCC, causes travel havoc

Massive sandstorm causes airport delays and road accidents due to high winds and dust in Dubai and Abu Dhabi
High winds and sand whip motorways and roads in the UAE (AFP)

A massive sand storm has whipped the UAE, as well as parts of Saudi and Kuwait.

The storm began to emerge overnight on Thursday with heavy delays being reported at Dubai airport, and some delays also occuring at Abu Dhabi. 

"Normal operations have been disrupted at Dubai International (DXB) and Al Maktoum International (DWC) due to bad weather across the GCC," Dubai Airports, which operates both airports in the emirate, said in a statement. 

Dubai International was the world's busiest airport for international passenger traffic in 2014, replacing Heathrow for the first time, as 70.5 million passengers travelled through the airport.

Bad weather was also reported in Kuwait City, although the UAE was harder hit by the storm (AFP)

The weather also caused chaos on the roads and has already being blamed for at least one traffic accident in Dubai with drivers being told to exercise extreme caution.

A 24-year-old Emirati woman has also been seriously injured as a result of the storm, Abu Dhabi Police reported, without releasing more details of the incident.

The accident occurred due to weather conditions on the Dubai-Al Ain road. The victim, who was seriously injured, has been transported by air wing to the nearest hospital for treatment.

The National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS) has warned that visibility will be reduced to “less than 500 metres at times” as fresh strong winds blow dust across the UAE today.

“NCMS warns of the fresh to strong winds and rough to very rough sea, also poor visibility due to dust in suspension,” the weather bureau said in a public announcement. Residents have been urged to close windows and block off any areas air from outside can be filtering in.

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.