Dust Storm Sweeps Over Saudi Arabia

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Aqua satellite captured this true-color image on March 26 at 9:55 UTC of a massive dust storm as it ran across the Arabian Peninsula.

Above is shown the image just before it sweeps across Oan and Yemen, while some of the storm is blown across the Persian Gulf towards Iran. Only a day later, the dust had moved southward and was heavy over Yemen. Local reports noted that the storm started in the late afternoon on March 25 in Iraq and Kuwait, dropping visibility to near zero and covering Kuwait in an early darkness, disrupting traffic across the Peninsula and the air Kuwait airport.

Intense northwest winds called shamal winds drove the fast-moving storm. They blow in from the northwest with the passing of a storm with a strong cold front, which is the leading edge of a mass of cold air. In this case, the cold front was over Iraq. It brought winds greater than 50 kilometers per hour (30 miles per hour) to Kuwait and slightly weaker winds to the rest of the region.

Adapted from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

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