Sandstorm originating in China observed across wide swath of Japan

Kyodo

A sandstorm, stretching over a wide area from western to northern Japan and also parts of the Kanto region, was observed Sunday, the Meteorological Agency said.

The weather bureau said yellow sand, carried on winds blowing from China, is also expected to continue Monday, mainly in western Japan. It warned of possible disruptions to transportation due to poor visibility.

In the city of Kumamoto, visibility fell to as low as 8 km at both 3 and 6 a.m. Sunday, according to the agency. When visibility falls to less than 10 km, a haze becomes apparent when looking over a long distance.

On Sunday, sand-laden air was observed in Hokkaido, the Tohoku, Chubu and Kansai regions, and Kyushu. It was also seen in Gunma and Ibaraki prefectures.

The airborne sand was observed in western Japan on Saturday for the first time this year, the latest date since 1967 when information about sandstorms began to be compiled in this country.

On Thursday, China’s pollution-choked capital, Beijing, was hit by a severe sandstorm which caused several flights to be canceled. Because of health issues, officials urged local residents to stay indoors.