Close Window
Saudi Arabia Sandstorm: Earth Image of the Week April 1, 2011
Satellite Image of Benghazi, Libya.
Strong northerly winds carried a wall of sand southward into Saudi Arabia from Iran and Iraq.
A massive sandstorm disrupted travel as it severely reduced visibility across the Persian Gulf and Saudi Peninsula on March 25-27.

The storm began on Friday, March 25, forcing people indoors across Kuwait, southern Iran and northeastern parts of the Saudi kingdom.

The Gulf Today reports that the wall of sand blew southward late Friday and Saturday, trapping people unable to drive home inside malls and other businesses.

Others remained inside in fear of the sand causing asthma or other forms of respiratory problems.

The United Arab Emirates' National Center of Meteorology and Seismology told the Khaleej Times that the sandstorm was caused by low barometric pressure over Iran and Iraq, directing strong northerly winds that carried sand from Iran and Iraq across the Saudi Peninsula.

Visibility across Kuwait and Bahrain dropped to as little as 300 feet, affecting air travel in both countries.

The image to the right of the advancing wall of sand was captured by NASA’s Aqua satellite at midday on March 26.

It shows that the densest concentration of sand was blowing across a mainly uninhabitated part of southern Saudi Arabia.

In the hours that followed, the sand blew farther south, darkening the skies in Yemen and Oman.

Image: NASA MODIS Rapid Response System