After affecting normal life in Pakistan's Karachi, a massive dust storm is heading towards Gujarat and south Rajasthan and may continue to have an effect till the next 12 hours, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said. The weather department, however said no impact is likely over Delhi in coming days.
Karachi was caught off guard on Saturday morning when a dust storm that travelled from west Pakistan disturbed the normal life there with visibility reduced to less than or about 500 metres.
"The Saurashtra coast has been getting dust rising winds from Saturday afternoon. Dwarka station reported 400 metre visibility, at Porbandar the wind speed was more than 10 km per hour with visibility of less than one kilometre," the IMD said.
Winds carrying dust blew from south Pakistan areas and adjoining Arabian Sea towards Kutch and Saurashtra towards evening.
"Dust storm or dust raising winds in association with surface winds at a wind speed of 30-40 kmph gusting to 50 kmph, is likely over many places of Saurashtra and Kutch, and at isolated places over adjoining Gujarat region and south Rajasthan," said IMD's senior scientist R.K. Jenamani, adding, "This is valid till Sunday morning for next 12 hours."
Fortunately, the dust storm will have no impact on Delhi in view of the western disturbance being very active for the next 36 hours in northwest India.
"Its (dust area) forward part interacts with high moisture and intense cloud zone currently located over southwest Rajasthan. The dust layer is over Saurashtra, very far, southwest of Delhi," Jenamani said.
The 'Sand and Dust Storms Risk Assessment in Asia and the Pacific' report for 2021 published by the Asian and Pacific Centre for the Development of Disaster Information Management, which is a regional institution of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, had said more than 500 million people in India and more than 80 per cent of the population of Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Iran are exposed to medium and high levels of poor air quality due to sand and dust storms.
Lahore, Karachi and Delhi are the three most affected cities, the report had said.
Dust storms, if severe, and over a longer time, also adversely affect agriculture, especially cotton.
(With inputs from IANS)