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Yellow sand blankets Okinawa, fouls the air

Date Posted: 2010-03-25

Dust storms in China, together with high winds from the west, have brought the year’s first yellow sand to Okinawa.

The dense yellow sand began blowing across Japan and Okinawa about 6:30 a.m. Sunday, two days after the storms brought much of China’s traffic to a standstill. It did so here, too, as visibility dropped to less than 1.5 kilometers at 11 a.m. Sunday in Naha City, 2.0 kilometers in Miyakojima City, and 3.0 kilometers in Ishigaki Island.

Six flights between Naha and Kobe, Naha and Kume Island, and between Naha and Ishigaki Island were cancelled Sunday. Another 39 flights were delayed, and as the wind-driven yellow sands saw no sign of abating, another 24 flights were delayed.

The Okinawa Meteorological Observatory says last year’s storms were not as severe, with visibility dropping only to five kilometers. Weather forecasters are cautioning drivers to be more careful, and also noting that laundry should not be dried outside, as the sands can contaminate the linen fabrics.

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