Dust band expected to hit the country today
March 20 2017 12:03 AM
Lightning illuminates the Doha sky yesterday evening. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam

A dust band is expected to affect the country from morning until evening today, resulting in a drop in visibility to below 2km in some areas, the Qatar Met department has warned.
Advising people to be cautious, the weather office also said chances of thundery rain were expected to continue until this morning along with fresh/strong winds. 
Offshore areas, too, are likely to experience windy conditions, high seas and thundershowers today. The department has reminded people to avoid any sea activities due to “unsettled weather conditions affecting the country”.
Strong winds, thunder and rain lashed Doha and other parts of Qatar late yesterday evening even as visibility dropped in many places due to blowing dust, weather updates showed.
The wind speed gradually picked up as the evening progressed, going up to 40 knots in some places, even as lightning lit up the sky over the capital and other areas. Social media was abuzz with images and video clips of the lightning and thunder.
In view of the “expected unsettled weather” today, the weather office urged people to follow latest updates via its social media accounts and ignore any rumours. 
Also, while observing that “thundershowers accompanied by strong downdraft winds and low visibility in some areas were affecting the country”, the Met department issued – on Twitter - a list of safety measures to be followed during thunderstorms. 
On its part, the Ministry of Interior asked motorists to be careful as thundershowers and strong winds were being reported from different parts of the country. It also advised caution in view of low visibility and dust.
Today’s detailed forecast says it will be hazy in the early hours of the day and dusty conditions are also expected. Besides, it will be cloudy and there is a chance of scattered rain, which may be thundery in some places.
Offshore, it will be dusty and cloudy and there is also a possibility of scattered rain that may be accompanied by thunder occasionally. The sea level, meanwhile, may rise to 12ft. 
The wind speed may go up to 30 knots inshore and 32 knots offshore during thundershowers.  
Meanwhile, the temperature shot up to 39C in Abu Samra and 38C in Turayna yesterday, the Met department informed through a tweet in the afternoon. The minimum, on the other hand, was between 20C and 23C.
A minimum temperature of 19C is expected in Dukhan today, while in Doha it will be 22C. The maximum, on the other hand, will range from 22C to 28C.

Al Sarayat: season of sudden changes
Yesterday’s weather was a “perfect example of typical weather fluctuations during the season of sudden changes”, locally known as Al Sarayat, the Qatar Met department said.
“As spring begins, it marks the onset of sudden changes known locally as Al Sarayat,” the weather office explained in a post on Twitter. This phase begins today and will continue until mid-May.
The period is characterised by “continuous weather fluctuations as westerly disturbances continue crossing the Arabian Peninsula, accompanied by warm fronts at first, followed by cold fronts”, it noted. 
The season is associated with “severe weather such as violent  lightning strikes, strong winds, heavy rain and dust”, the weather office added.

Last updated: March 20 2017 12:12 AM

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