BEIJING (Agencies): The National Meteorological Center (NMC) issued a blue alert for sandstorms on Monday, warning residents that billowing dust is expected to hit more than a dozen of provinces and regions in northern China.
Affected by cold air and strong winds, sand and dust are expected to hit parts of southern and eastern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the Qaidam Basin in Qinghai Province, western and northern Gansu Province, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, central and northern Shaanxi Province, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Shanxi, Hebei and Shandong provinces, Beijing and Tianjin municipalities, northern Henan Province, southwestern Heilongjiang Province, central and western Jilin Province, and central and western Liaoning Province in the 24-hour period starting 8 am Monday.
The NMC added that the central and western areas of Inner Mongolia would be particularly impacted by sandstorms.
On Sunday, the NMC issued a similar alert for sandstorms for parts of northern China.
Northern China had been hit by more sandstorms this March compared with previous years, the result of multiple factors including stronger winds generated by cold fronts, higher temperatures and poor vegetation coverage in the southern parts of Mongolia and northern China due to low precipitation.
Since the beginning of March, four dust weather events, including two sandstorms and two dust events have buffeted China, compared to only two last year, and close to the 3.3 yearly average recorded over the past 20 years, a statement from China’s National Forestry and Grassland Administration said.
The most recent severe sandstorm swept through the vast area of northern China between March 19 and 22, covering a larger area and at a higher intensity than has typically been recorded in prior years.
After days of clear and bright weather, some parts of the northern China again are enveloped by the sandstorms in April. The NMC has released a response guide for residents in affected areas, advising them to be prepared to prevent wind and sand and close doors and windows.
The public should wear masks, gauze and other dust-proof supplies, so as to avoid dust damage to eyes and respiratory tract. Sealing precision instruments is also suggested.
People should tighten the coaming, trellises, temporary structures and other structures that are easily blown by the wind, and properly arrange outdoor objects that are easily affected by sandstorms. Due to poor visibility, drivers should reduce speed to ensure safety.