Sanstorms blanket Beijing in yellow dust

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Sanstorms blanket Beijing in yellow dust

Postby Vinny » Mon Mar 22, 2010 2:31 pm ... dust/14117

Sandstorms blanket Beijing in yellow dust
Sunday March 21, 2010 - 02:52 EDT

Visitors to Tiananmen Square battle the dusty conditions. - AFP
Beijing residents woke up Saturday to find the Chinese capital blanketed in yellow dust as a sandstorm caused by a severe drought in the north swept into the city.

The storm, which earlier buffeted parts of northeastern China, brought strong winds and cut visibility in the capital.

Authorities issued a rare level five pollution warning, signalling hazardous conditions, and urged residents to stay indoors.

Sandstorms frequently hit the arid north of China in the spring when temperatures start to rise, stirring up clouds of dust that can travel across China, to South Korea and Japan and even as far as the United States.

Scientists blame a combination of deforestation and prolonged drought in northern China for the phenomenon.

Saturday's storm was expected to last until Monday, the meteorological agency said.

"I was amazed to see the ground had turned yellow overnight," Beijing salesman Li Ming told the official Xinhua news agency. "It reminds me of the dirt road of my rural hometown."

Another resident said the storm was worse than those in recent years.

"Severe sandstorms like this happened very often in the 1980s and 1990s," Beijing retiree Song Xiurong told Xinhua. "It hasn't been that serious in the recent two or three years, as far as I remember."

A sandstorm four years ago dumped at least 300,000 tonnes of sand on the capital.

China has 2.6 million square kilometres of desert, an area nearly 2.5 times the country's total farmland, according to government statistics.

Yeppoon Annual Average Rainfall is (BOM) = 982.5mm
2012 Yeppoon 976.8mm

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