As Qatar residents woke up to yet another dust storm and high winds, the adverse weather has affected a number of flights at Hamad International Airport (HIA).
This is the third sandstorm the country has seen in two weeks. Many on social media have been lamenting the decreased visibility on the roads, and thick coating of dust on their possessions at home.
Meanwhile, several planes due to land at and depart from HIA last night and early this morning were delayed, while at least one Qatar Airways flight, QR4 from London Heathrow, was diverted to Dubai World Central Al Maktoum International Airport.
The flight had taken off from London at 3:05pm yesterday afternoon and was scheduled to land in Qatar just before midnight.
However, some of the 391 passengers on board the Airbus A380 complained on Twitter that they circled above Doha for two hours, before being diverted to Dubai, with many saying they were given no information for the reason for their diversion and delay.
— ibra ozhan (@ibra_ozhan) April 13, 2015
— Jonathan Shillington (@JonnyShill) April 13, 2015
According to one passenger, the pilot had said the diversion was due to adverse weather conditions, which would have made it potentially dangerous to land. However, the passenger added that ground staff in Dubai said there was a fault on the plane.
@qatarairways what a shambles when QR4 diverted to Dubai. Pilot claims it was "wind shear". Ground staff claim a fault. Who knows.
— Richard Harvey (@richardwharvey) April 13, 2015
An HIA representative told Doha News that the flight delay had been due to the sandstorm and wind shear, a weather condition that makes it potentially dangerous to land. The airport’s website is showing the diverted QR4 flight as rescheduled to arrive in Doha at 10:45am today – at least 11 hours later than expected.
However, at 10am today passengers said they were still waiting to take off.
A Qatar Airways spokesperson told Doha News the passenger complaints of lack of information were being investigated.
Other flights that were delayed arriving in to Qatar according to HIA’s website included a Qatar Airways flight from Dar Es Salaam, which had been due to land at 11:59pm last night. As of this morning, HIA had no rescheduled arrivals time.
There were also some delays to departures from HIA, with a Qatar Airways flight to Heathrow which was due to take off at 6:35am put back by one hour. Other Qatar Airways flights to Dubai and Dar Es salaam which were due to depart just after 7am today are showing delays on HIA’s website, but with no rescheduled time as yet.
A Qatar Airways spokesperson told Doha News that the bad weather had also caused “sizable delays” to the QR39 flight from Doha to Paris Charles de Galle, which had been due to depart at 8:25am, but was put back by five hours, with a rescheduled take off time of 1:20pm.
She said passengers had been notified where possible last night of the delays, to warn them not to arrive at the airport too early.
According to the Qatar Meteorology Department, high pressure and strong winds are creating “blowing dust and sand,” reducing visibility down to 2km or less today. The conditions are expected to continue until the end of tomorrow (Tuesday).
Another duststorm in Doha. I invite Californians who still don't care about #climatechange to come over and experience the dire future.
— Huib de Vries (@huibdevries) April 13, 2015
There is a silver lining, however: temperatures are expected to drop from a high of 40C (104F) yesterday, to between 32 and 35C (95F) today, which is normal for this time of year, the MET said.
الصور تكون الغبار على شمال السعودية ممتد الى الشرق من المتوقع أن نتاثر بموجة غبارية خلال الساعات القادمة pic.twitter.com/eZCKyevtUU
— أرصاد قطر (@Qatar_Weather) April 12, 2015
Have you been affected by the sandstorm? Thoughts?