By Irfan Mohammed
JEDDAH — A heavy dust storm blanketed Jeddah and other cities of the Kingdom on Tuesday, bringing down visibility to less than a kilometer and causing problems for motorists.
The Makkah region witnessed heavy winds kicking up dust at a speed of 55 km per hour. A spokesman for the General Authority of Meteorology and Environmental Protection told the Saudi Press Agency the sandstorm would continue on Wednesday and that the bad weather would persist until Thursday evening.
The authority warned that the intensity of the sandstorm and poor visibility would increase from Tuesday to Thursday in the regions of Makkah, Riyadh, Qassim and the Eastern Province. Temperatures would also rise in these regions.
The authority forecast rain accompanied by sandstorms in Tabuk, Madinah, Al-Jouf, Hail and the Northern Border provinces till Saturday.
The weather authority also forecast thunderstorms in Jazan, Abha and Baha regions extending to the upper areas of Makkah.
Marine traffic was halted at Jeddah Islamic Port because of high winds and reduced visibility.
The movement of trucks from the port, the primary port for imports in the Kingdom, came to a standstill as ship handling was suspended. Around 700 trucks carry goods from the Jeddah port to different parts of the Kingdom daily.