Iraq Crippled by Large Sandstorm

The Arab Regional Weather Center reported on Sunday that the Khamasini air depression has created dust waves and sand storms hitting large areas in Iraq. 

“While large areas of Iraq are witnessing heavy dust, the northern areas are exposed to unstable weather conditions that result in cumulus clouds and thunderstorms of varying intensity,” the Arab weather service reported.

The report also said that the readings from the Baghdad International Airport have indicated that “the horizontal visibility recorded very low levels, reaching only 200 meters,” prompting flights in Baghdad and the Shiite holy city of Najaf to be grounded.

In April, a series of sand storms crippled the country as it grounded flights and hospitalized people with respiratory problems.  

Issa al-Fayad, an environment ministry official, predicted that in the following years, Iraq would be facing “272 days of dust” every year, the Iraqi news quoted from the state news agency INA.

Amer al-Jabri from Iraq’s meteorological office said that this weather phenomenon could become a regular forecast “due to drought, desertification and declining rainfall.” 

The World Bank in November also said that by 2050, Iraq could face a 20-percent drop in water resources because of climate change.

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