Sand, Round Two

Shortly before I hopped my bike to ride home from work this evening, another sandstorm blew into town.  This one I saw coming, as the sky to the northwest turned a very strange orange-brownish color right before dusk.  Then the wind hit, and the dust fell!  On me, as I was riding home.   As for yesterday’s storm, it seems I vastly underestimated the amount that fell on the city….if this report in the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong newspaper) is accurate:

A massive sandstorm has struck northern China, dumping more than 300,000 tonnes of sand dust in Beijing alone, creating the worst air pollution since 2003….The Central Meteorological Office said the severe sandstorm struck more than 304,000 sq km of northern China, sweeping across Beijing, Tianjin , Shanxi  , Hebei and Shandong . The western provinces of Xinjiang , Ningxia and Shaanxi were also affected, although the impact was not as serious as in Beijing, China News Service reported, citing data from the State Forestry Administration, which plays a key role in monitoring and preventing sandstorms. The administration estimated the sandstorm affected nearly 200 million people in more than 562 cities and counties across a total area of 1.61 million sq km. The sandstorm originated from the centre of Inner Mongolia , according to Zhang Mingying , an official from the Beijing municipal meteorological office.

Three Hundred Thousand Tonnes!!!!!!   No wonder I can’t breathe today!