Beijing: Hazardous sandstorm hits second time in two weeks

BEIJING (STL.News) Beijing was shrouded in thick dust carrying extremely high levels of hazardous particles on Sunday, as the second sandstorm in two weeks hit the city due to winds from drought-hit Mongolia and northwestern China.

Visibility in the city was reduced, with the tops of some skyscrapers obscured by the sandstorm and pedestrians forced to cover their eyes as gusts of dust swept through the streets.

Beijing’s official air quality index reached a maximum of 500 on Sunday morning, with floating particles are known as PM10 surpassing 2,000 micrograms per cubic meter in some districts. Readings of smaller PM2.5 particles were above 300 micrograms per cubic meter, far higher than China’s standard of 35 micrograms.  PM2.5 particles are especially harmful because they are very tiny and can enter the bloodstream, while PM10 is a larger particle that can enter the lungs.

The China Meteorological Administration said Beijing might face more sandstorms in April due to the unfavorable weather this year.