Beijing Covered with Severe Hazardous Smog after Sandstorm, Flights Canceled

Beijing and parts of northwestern China were blanketed in an orange haze after a massive sandstorm blew in from the Gobi desert and combined with the already existing weather pollution.

“This is the most intense sandstorm weather the country has seen in 10 years,” announced China’s National Meteorological Center.

Beijing’s air quality index reached a dangerous reading of 500 on while the concentration of dust particles in some of some districts measured 8,000 micrograms per cubic meter.

China’s National Meteorological Center issued the second-highest alert level shortly before 7.30 am, local time, and warned that sandstorm alerts would be in effect until Tuesday morning.

“In some places, there are strong sandstorms with visibility of less than 500 meters (1,640 feet). This is also the strongest dust and sand weather affecting China in almost 10 years,” said China’s National Meteorological Center,

Local authorities advised residents to stay indoors while schools were suspended.

Traffic was congested all over the city while more than 400 flights out of the capital’s two main airports were canceled due to poor visibility.

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