WEATHER

Flights canceled during China’s worst sandstorm in a decade

Mar 15, 2021, 8:15 AM | Updated: 10:41 am
A resident rides through a sandstorm in Beijing, Monday, March 15, 2021. The sandstorm brought a ti...
A resident rides through a sandstorm in Beijing, Monday, March 15, 2021. The sandstorm brought a tinted haze to Beijing's skies and sent air quality indices soaring on Monday. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

BEIJING (AP) — China’s capital and a wide swath of the country’s north were enveloped Monday in the worst sandstorm in a decade, forcing the cancelation of hundreds of flights.

Skyscrapers in the center of Beijing appeared to drop from sight amid the dust and sand. Traffic was snarled and more than 400 flights out of the capital’s two main airports were canceled amid high winds and low visibility.

The National Meteorological Center said Monday’s storm had developed in the Gobi Desert in the Inner Mongolia Region, where schools had been advised to close and bus service added to reduce residents’ exposure to the harsh conditions.

Such storms used to occur regularly in the springtime as sand from western deserts blew eastwards, affecting areas as far as northern Japan.

Massive planting of trees and bushes in fragile areas has reduced the effects on other parts of the country in recent years, but the expansion of cities and industries, along with strip mining and overgrazing, has put constant pressure on the environment throughout China. With its mix of desert and grassy steppe, Inner Mongolia is particularly prone to extreme weather resulting from resource exploitation.

Like COVID-19, which is believed to have spread from bats and other wild animals, sandstorms are a reminder of the need to respect nature, said Zhou Jinfeng, secretary general of the conservation group China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation.

“Together with the pandemic, that’s another big lesson we should take and we should change our behavior,” Zhou said.

The National Meteorological Center forecasted the sand and dust would affect 12 provinces and regions from Xinjiang in the far northwest to Heilongjiang in the northeast and the eastern coastal port city of Tianjin.

“This is the most intense sandstorm weather our country has seen in 10 years, as well as it covering the broadest area,” the center said in a post on its website.

It wasn’t clear if the storm was related to a recent general decline in air quality despite efforts to end Beijing’s choking smog.

The ruling Communist Party has pledged to reduce carbon emissions per unit of economic output by 18% over the next five years. Environmentalists say China needs to do more to reduce dependency on coal that has made it the world’s biggest emitter of climate changing gasses.

Today’s Top Stories

Weather

Colorado river is pictured, its water supplies Utah but it is running out...
Adam Small

Utah leaders ask businesses to contribute to water conservation amid Colorado River shortage

The Colorado River supplies water to Utah, but due to its shortage businesses are being asked to do their part for water conservation.
20 hours ago
dangerous heat study...
Mark Jones

September was the hottest month in Salt Lake City and it wasn’t close

According to KSL meteorologist Kristen Van Dyke, September was the hottest month ever recorded in Salt Lake City.
2 days ago
The weather in Utah has been stormy, and that won't be easing up yet for some areas. Salt Lake vall...
Adam Small

Storms blast southern Utah, flash flooding possible

The weather in Utah has been stormy and for southern Utah, it won't be easing up soon. National parks are expecting flash floods today.
2 days ago
The National Weather Service issues a severe thunderstorm warning in parts of Grand County. Photo c...
Devin Oldroyd

NWS issues severe thunderstorm warning in Grand County

The National Weather Service sent out a severe thunderstorm warning in parts of Grand County. Half-dollar-sized hail is being reported.
3 days ago
Damage from Hurricane Ian...
Nouran Salahieh, CNN

Death toll rises to 67 in Florida after Hurricane Ian rendered some communities ‘unrecognizable,’ officials say

Days after Hurricane Ian slammed into Florida, shell-shocked residents are still assessing the damage left behind by record-high storm surge, damaging winds and catastrophic flooding
3 days ago
Hurricane Ian survivor Hope Labriola waited for help as her home filled with water. Photo credit: H...
Caroll Alvarado, CNN

‘I can’t do this’: Fort Myers Beach woman calls for help as Hurricane Ian’s storm surge floods her home

A Fort Myers Beach woman called for help as the storm surge from Hurricane Ian.
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Flights canceled during China’s worst sandstorm in a decade