As authorities encouraged caution on the roadways and prepared for an impending downpour of heavy rain, large portions of the United Arab Emirates were affected by dust and sandstorms on Sunday.
Following a string of stifling dust storms across the Middle East, homes and famous landmarks in major cities were covered in a thin layer of brown dirt, and visibility plummeted.
The government media office of Abu Dhabi advised drivers to “avoid driving unless absolutely necessary” on Saturday. On Sunday, visibility was less than one kilometer (0.6 miles) in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Rainstorms are expected this week, which is unusual for the desert state during the height of summer. This comes after seven Asian migrants died in flash flooding last month.
As flooding inundated the streets of the port city of Fujairah and other eastern areas, emergency services reported that they had responded to hundreds of cries for assistance.
This year, a string of sandstorms that are widely believed to be exacerbated by climate change have engulfed countries including Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and others, closing airports and schools and bringing thousands of people with breathing difficulties to hospitals.
According to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the UAE is extremely vulnerable to global warming as temperatures soar, rainfall decreases, storms intensify, and rising sea levels endanger its low-lying coast.