PHOTOS: Sandstorms Engulf Beijing & North China

By Alistair Baker-Brian, March 22, 2023

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Beijing, along with other parts of North China, has once again found itself in the midst of sandstorm season. 

Watch footage shot from near Jintai Lu Subway Station in Beijing, Chaoyang district:


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Beijing during the sandstorm. Image via Weibo/@人称胡女士

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Changchun, Jilin province during the sandstorm. Image via Weibo/@叶老师是我不是你

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Changchun, Jilin province. Image via Weibo/@叶老师是我不是你

The Chinese capital, as well as parts of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Tianjin Municipality and Hebei province, have experienced sandstorms.

Meanwhile, the following areas have experienced high levels of sand and dust particles in the air, according to China’s Central Meteorological Observatory:

  • Southern areas of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region 

  • Northern areas of Qinghai province

  • Southern areas of Gansu province

  • Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region 

  • Shaanxi province 

  • Shanxi province

  • Mid-west areas of Heilongjiang province

  • Mid-west areas of Jilin province

  • Liaoning province 

  • Shandong province

  • Henan province

  • Northern areas of Jiangsu province

  • Northern areas of Anhui province

  • Northern areas of Hubei province 

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Yellow indicates high levels of sand and dust particles in the air, orange indicates sandstorms, while red indicates severe sandstorms. Image via Weibo/@新京报

The extreme weather is expected to last until around 8am tomorrow, Thursday, March 23. 

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Many areas of North China currently have areas classed as hazardous, very unhealthy and unhealthy on Air Quality Index (AQI). Screengrab via aqicn.org

In Beijing, a yellow warning – the 3rd-highest on China’s 4-tier warning system for sandstorms – has been issued. 

Carl Tian – a resident of Beijing, Haidian district – told That’s that he noticed high levels of pollution in the air yesterday evening, March 21. As he’s one of the lucky ones who doesn’t need to commute to work today, March 22, he opted not to leave the house, in so far as possible.   

North China is no stranger to sandstorms. Northerly and westerly winds blow sand from the Gobi Desert in the southeast part of Mongolia and China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.  

According to People’s Daily, March-May tends to be peak sandstorm season for many parts of North China, due in part to less precipitation. Deforestation in North China has also been a key factor in causing severe sandstorms in recent years, reports Reuters. 

If you’re heading outside, remember to wear a face covering such as a KN95 mask and pay attention on the roads due to low visibility.


[Cover image via Weibo/@犀小莉]

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