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Al Ain: It seems the weather was truly impossible, In Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, that is. It is so impossible that the Met man is flummoxed.

A shot in the movie shows a storm engulfing the Dubai International Financial Centre, then blanketing roads and surrounding areas. And while it rages in all its ferocity, our hero, Tom Cruise, chases a terrorist.

Visibility was, obviously, very poor. And that's probably why the high speed chase ends in a head-on collision and the terrorist escapes in a truck. Oh, but blame that on the weather, not Cruise.

Ahmad Sajwani, an Emirati meteorologist, first noted the startling phenomenon and wrote on weather portal (www.meteo.ae): "In my opinion, Dubai is more likely to get a shower than such a freaky sandstorm as seen in the latest Mission Impossible movie."

He said the blinding storm shown in the film occurs in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iraq. The geographical location and climate in Dubai and the northern emirates do not allow for such turbulence. The sudden and strong north-westerly winds kick up dust and sand in those countries. Most of the sandstorms in UAE, particularly in Dubai, have their origins in Kuwait or Iraq. "They lose intensity and end up like dust storms in the UAE with much of the sand being suspended in air and not at the surface," said Sajwani.

Steffen George, an Indian expatriate who has lived in Dubai for 10 years, said he enjoyed the movie, but the director is not very familiar with the weather in Dubai. Sand and dust storms hit Al Ain, the western and southern parts of the UAE but not with the ferocity shown in the movie, he said.

Possibilities

The director, he said, had probably seen sandstorms hitting Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, and Baghdad, the capital of Iraq, and thought similar storms might also strike other Middle Eastern cities, including Dubai.

Adil Hassan, another meteorologist, said he was surprised to see such a fierce sandstorm hitting Dubai.

"The UAE normally sees dust storms coming from the dried up marshlands of Iraq and Kuwait," he said. "These storms normally have suspended fine dust particles that never create a wall-like phenomenon in the city."

Stunning scenes

The movie, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, made its world premiere at the Dubai Film Festival on December 7, and has some stunning scenes filmed at Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building. The movie has been ranked No. 1 on the Asian top ten chart, pulling in $68.2 million (Dh250.45 million) in the first five days of its release at 6,079 locations outside the US.