Duststorm in Dubai causes low visibility in Dubai. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Dubai: A dust-laden grey pall that has blanketed much of the country is dissipating and should clear by the weekend, forecasters said on Tuesday.

The national weather bureau said on Tuesday that residents can take some comfort from the long-range forecast that there will be brighter skies, improved air quality and far greater visibility for motorists bound for weekend adventures outdoors.

Sweeping dust and sand across the UAE in recent days are expected to reduce by Friday bringing relief to weary denizens who have been relegated to staying indoors at work and home since last weekend.

Dust and sand have choked the air with suspended particles making outdoor activities difficult for residents with respiratory disorders and allergies.

“It will gradually clear, the dust is already less now than the last few days and will get better,” said a forecaster at the weather centre on Tuesday.

The Marine and Geodetic Survey Section of the Survey Department at Dubai Municipality warned on Tuesday that drivers should take care to counter reduced visibility and advised those with breathing problems to stay indoors.

“The municipality has also warned asthma patients and those who suffer from respiratory diseases to keep indoors as it is expected that the impact of dust on the atmosphere of the emirate will last until Wednesday or the end of the week and the situation will gradually improve thereafter,” the municipality said in a statement.

The municipality attributed the “bad weather to the effect of [an] Indian low pressure monsoon, which was concentrated in the southeastern parts of the United Arab Emirates near to Arabian Sea leading to the movement of southeasterly wind blowing dust over the region and a significant increase in temperature. The horizontal vision will be less than 3,000 metres all this time.”

According to real-time air quality app BreezoMeter, the UAE’s air quality has been less than favourable  with a “low air quality” ranking.

Air quality

Live readings from Al Safa Road in Dubai showed an air quality level of four out of a total 100 points on Monday with the latter number being the best possible air condition.

By Tuesday afternoon, the Dubai air quality index number had improved to 19 points out of 100.

“Children and infants should not be outside in these conditions,” advised the app for the Dubai reading. “We have three words for you: Don’t go outside.”

In Abu Dhabi, Breezometer readings registered at nine points out of 100 on Monday but improved to 26 points out of 100 by Tuesday afternoon.

“It is good to stay in closed and air-conditioned places,” the app advised those living in Abu Dhabi. “Unless you have to, our recommendation is to minimise your time outdoors.”

For some workers, going outdoors is a must regardless of the searing heat in muggy sand storms.

Ahmad, a security guard in Dubai’s Liwan area, said he is thankful the country’s weather is stable and sunny most of the year around and was resigned to the odd patch of bad weather.

“I have to do my rounds outside to make sure everything is safe but the dust is not good, But it is not all the time like this, so it’s okay,” he said.

A petrol station attendant on Al Wasl Road just shook his head at the pumps when asked how he was faring in the dusty weather.

The weather centre, meanwhile, said that until the weather front clears, dusty conditions will lighten but prevail mainly across central and eastern portions of the country.

On Wednesday, hot and hazy weather will continue with “local convective clouds formation eastward by afternoon” accompanied by winds of up to 40km/h kicking up dust and sand.

Similar dusty and hazy conditions will continue on Thursday.

On Friday, while skies will be clearer, hot and hazy weather will persist with “a chance of local rainy convective clouds formation eastward by afternoon, extending to some internal and southern areas”, the weather centre said.

Normal seasonal hot and hazy weather will continue on Saturday with a chance of rain inland, in the south and in the eastern areas.