Qatar residents heading outside today are being warned to take precautions due to the high level of dust in the air.
According to an Air Quality Index run by a professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, conditions are currently “hazardous.”
Speaking to Doha News, Terrance Murphy said the index mostly takes into account small particulate matter – PM10, or “basically the dust.”
At 11:00: 35.2℃, RH 22%. PM2.5 at 50 µg/m3 and PM10 at 941 µg/m3. AQI: HAZARDOUS based on PM10 level.
— Qatar Air Quality (@QatarAirQuality) May 25, 2016
He added that other indicators, such as particulate matter 2.5 and ozone levels, remain low for now.
“That said, one should not do strenuous work or exercise outside. Masks that would filter out the particulate matter would be good,” he said.
Health officials in Qatar offer the same advice during the dusty season, adding that people should also avoid rubbing their eyes to prevent infection and to seek treatment if having breathing difficulties.
Fortunately, today’s sandstormy weather won’t last much longer.
According to forecasters, strong northwesterly winds will come to a head this afternoon, as gusts reach up to 38 knots (70km/hour) and visibility falling below 2km in some parts of Qatar.
The winds will stick around for a few more days, but should be less ferocious and die down by Friday, the MET said in a statement.
— أرصاد قطر (@qatarweather) May 25, 2016
Meanwhile, temperatures will drop from the mid-40s to the upper 30s over the next few days.
For beach-goers, the MET has warned people to stay away from the sea when waves are high. Today, they may reach up to 12 feet, forecasters said.