As a new pressure front from Saudi Arabia moves over Qatar, the Ministry of Interior is cautioning those on the roads tonight about low visibility and high winds due to an impending sandstorm.
Update: The Supreme Education Council has also ordered private and public schools to be shut on Thursday, April 2 due to “extreme weather conditions.”
The Qatar Meteorology Department (MET) has also advised residents to take care, saying high winds will move over the country late tonight and persist all day tomorrow, leading to dusty conditions.
In a statement, the MET attributed the strong winds to a high pressure front from Saudi Arabia, which is expected to last through Friday evening.
During this time, wind speeds are forecast to reach as high as 35 knots inshore (65km/hour) and 38 knots (70km/hour) offshore.
The MET continued:
“The Northwesterly wind will be accompanied with blowing dust and sand especially in open areas which may reduce the horizontal visibility.”
Temperatures are expected to be slightly cooler than earlier this week, ranging from 19C (66F) to 32C (90F).
In addition to driving extra-carefully on the roads, residents should also take to protect their health during sandstorms.
Doctors generally advise that residents drive with their windows closed; avoid rubbing their eyes to prevent infections; and carry a supply of water to keep from being dehydrated.
Since children are especially vulnerable – thousands were taken to the hospital in January during a sandstorm – parents should cover their kids’ mouths and noses while outside, to avoid reducing inhalation of dust particles.