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Saturday, August 8, 2020
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    Flight delays at Qatar’s Hamad Airport multiply after sandstorm (updated)

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    Crowd at Hamad International Airport
    Crowd at Hamad International Airport

    Following one of Qatar’s worst sandstorms in years, passengers who were supposed to board several flights scheduled to take off in the middle of the night from Hamad International Airport appear to still be stuck in the terminal with no revised departure times.

    This includes the midnight KLM flight to Amsterdam, the 1:35am Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt and the 1:35am Qatar Airways/Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong.

    Many other flights departed HIA this morning after a few hours of delays.

    https://twitter.com/PeterofArabia/status/583374162112081920

    For example, a Qatar Airways flight to Colombo in Sri Lanka was delayed by more than three hours, finally taking off at 4:30am, instead of its scheduled 12:55am.

    And a Fly Dubai flight to Dubai which was due to leave Doha at 3:10am was actually canceled.

    Speaking to Doha News, an airport representative said that most flights would be flying on schedule for the rest of the morning, but advised passengers due to travel today to check with their airline for the latest status update.

    However, according to HIA’s website, delays out of the airport are piling up. Arrivals from elsewhere are also seeing delays – for example, a Qatar Airways flight from Dammam that was due to land at 5:10am is now not expected until 12:19pm.

    For its part, the national carrier (and airport operator) has recommended passengers check the status of their flights online:

    Schools closed

    Citing “extreme weather conditions,” Qatar’s Supreme Education Council decided that private and public schools would remain shut today.

    Several universities are also closed, including Northwestern University in Qatar, Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, Georgetown University in Qatar and Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar. The College of the North Atlantic Qatar has also announced it would be shut.

    Notably, Qatar University remained opened, much to the frustration of many students:

    https://twitter.com/ShaimaSherif/status/583524283596439552

    The weather is a result of a high pressure front from Saudi Arabia, which has also shut many of its schools in certain parts of the country, Arab News reports.

    Weather forecast

    According to the Qatar Meteorology Department (MET), wind speeds here are forecast to reach as high as 35 knots inshore (65km/hour) and 38 knots (70km/hour) offshore.

    Last night's sandstorm
    Last night\’s sandstorm

    Dusty conditions are expected to prevail through Friday, though the worst of this sandstorm should be over by lunchtime, says Steff Gaulter, senior meteorologist at Al Jazeera English:

    For those reporting to work today, the Ministry of Interior has warned of almost zero visibility on the roads, and reminded people to please refrain from using their hazard lights:

    Here’s a roundup of what people are experiencing around town:

    Are you venturing out today? Thoughts?

    Shabina S. Khatri
    Shabina S. Khatri is the editor of Doha News. She holds dual bachelor's degrees in Business Administration and Spanish from the University of Michigan, a Masters of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University, has previously taught at NU-Q, and worked for the Wall Street Journal and the Detroit Free Press.

    30 COMMENTS

    1. Good that they closed the schools, and also that some universities decided to close today, but what about people going to work? I even saw some construction workers outside while going to the office … in such conditions, everyone should be staying home … are the government entities actually working today?

      • I’ld like to thank the police men who were standing in the middle of the storm helping others and making us feel safe, I couldn’t continue driving at 10:20 pm due to the horrible weather in a matter of minutes even before I call, they stopped and asked if I need any help, those men deserve to be thanked!

      • I’m a student in QU. the classes and parking lots were empty. The majority of the faculty members notified students in advance to not attend classes.

    2. My worst ever sandstorm experience in seven years living in Qatar.
      It’s not getting better. Now, at 08:30 Dukhan is getting worst compared to 3 hours ago. The colours outside is yellowish with dust.

    3. I’ld like to thank the police men who were standing in the middle of the storm helping others and making us feel safe, I couldn’t continue driving at 10:20 pm due to the horrible weather in a matter of minutes even before I call, they stopped and asked if I need any help, those men deserve to be thanked ..

    4. Thank God the MOI has mentioned and cautioned against the improper use of hazard lights. A bit of rain, some sand and the cars light up like it’s Christmas Terribly confusing. Wonder who started this.

      But I have got to say, mighty good effort by the cops who stood out in the dust trying to reign in the chaos. I saw a Tiida driving the wrong way on an exit ramp off the expressway. Hope he got home safely.

      Dust protocol..a sign of the coming heatwave??

    5. Now why cant people understand the meaning of “hazard lights”……hello, its for emergencies only. In a roundabout a vehicle’s hazard lights are flashing whilst on the move but who can guess which exit will be used especially if they are on the inner or middle lanes, how ridiculous & they just never learn, do they.

    6. Had my pool cleaned yesterday. Now it looks like a swamp. I’m waiting for the creature from the deep to climb out and knock my back window…

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