Dust Storm Shrouds Eastern China39.9N 116.4E
Beijing has been shrouded in orange dust as a strong sandstorm blew hundreds of miles from drought-struck northern China to the nation’s capital. Authorities have issued a level-five pollution warning and urged people to stay indoors.
Here, the dust can be seen veiling mainland China, while offshore thick sediments are released into the Bohai Sea (above) and the Yellow Sea (below).
The storm has already caused havoc in Xinjiang, Shanxi, Shaanxi and Hebei regions and is heading to South Korea (visible to the right upon opening the full image). Residents of the South Korean capital, Seoul, as well as those in central and western regions, have been advised to stay indoors.
By Saturday, the storm had spread over an area of 810,000 sq km (313,000 sq miles) with a population of 250 million, state news agency Xinhua reported. It was expected to last until Monday, the meteorological agency said in a statement on its website.
The head of Beijing’s meteorological agency said the storm came from the deserts of Inner Mongolia. Beijing has long-suffered from sandstorms – experts say the storms are, in part, caused by deforestation and the rapid expansion of urban areas in recent decades.