The massive sandstorm swept through the Haixi Mongol and Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai province and darkened villages and towns in its path, according to local news reports.
Strong winds up to 53km/h speeds were recorded and in some areas visibility dropped to less than 200 metres.
The state media reported that there were no casualties but the massive sandstorm forced residents to take shelter.
The northwestern section of Qinghai province in China is considered a desert. “Forecasters say it’s likely that sand from these dry or desert areas was lofted into the air as thunderstorms developed in the western portion of China at midweek,” AccuWeather said.
— Rasmus (@notorius_vip) July 24, 2022
Elsewhere, a strong, record-breaking heatwave has engulfed the country. The China Meteorological Administration (CMA) stated that since mid-June, large sections of northern, eastern and central China have baked amid a long-term heat wave. It also said in a statement that “since June 13, China has witnessed the first regional heat wave weather process in 2022. It was wide-ranging, long-lasting, extreme, and impactful. By July 12, the high-temperature event has lasted 30 days, covering more than half of Chinese land and affecting over 900 million people.”
The highest temperature in 71 national meteorological stations has broken historical extremes, according to CMA. “The highest temperature in Lingshou, Gaocheng, Zhengding in Hebei, and Yanjin in Yunnan has reached over 44 degrees Celsius.”
In fact, the heat was so brutal in Yunnan province city of Zhaotong last week that some railway workers had to use giant ice blocks to cool down the railway tracks and hence prevent damage.
Many flights were cancelled as a result of the sandstorm and in several places a yellow alert was issued to alert residents to take shelter.