The strongest sandstorm in ten years has swept across northern China on Monday. The authorities in Beijing issued a “yellow alert” and warned of severely restricted visibility.

Pollution in the Chinese capital reached “dangerous” levels after heavy winds brought in sand from the north-west of the country.

The China Meteorological Administration announced the yellow alert on Monday morning, saying around 12 provinces were or would be affected. That makes the storm both the strongest sandstorm in ten years and the one covering the largest territory.

According to Chinese media, Beijing airports had to cancel more than 400 flights.

Spring is sandstorm season in northern China. Strong winds carry sand and fine dust from the Gobi desert and Mongolia into the often heavily smoggy and densely populated industrial regions.

Source: dpa/MIA