Mongolian sandstorm affects Beijing

March 19, 2010 at 1:40 PM

BEIJING, March 19 (UPI) -- A sandstorm enveloped the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in northern China Friday, and threatened to blow dust to Beijing, meteorologists said.

Weather experts said visibility was about 650 yards to 984 yards and the wind was about 40 mph in some areas of Araxan League, which is about 78 percent desert and where the sandstorm originated, China's state-run news agency, Xinhua, reported. Forecasters said the sandstorm was expected to weaken overnight.

Dust also blanketed the neighboring Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region Friday, Xinhua said.

"Given the severity of the sandstorm, Beijing will be affected, though it will just get some dust ... not the sandstorm," said Li Jintian, head of the meteorological observatory at Bayannaoer in western Inner Mongolia.

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