The sandstorm which hit Beijing on March 15 was the worst in ten years and had many netizens comparing it to an apocalyptic movie scene.
And on April 15, the ominous Beijing sandstorm returned. The superstitious amongst us may draw a link between sandstorms and the number 15.
Fortunately, this storm did not last as long as the one in March. Yet, the addition of ‘muddy rain,’ thunder and lightning made it somewhat more complicated.
Once again, the culprit was a strong northerly wind blowing sand across Inner Mongolia and towards Beijing and surrounding provinces and cities.
By around 4pm, the dark yellowy haze people know all too well from the previous sandstorm had returned to the capital, along with heavy winds and a bout of muddy rain.
Districts including Yanqing, Changping, Mentougou, Haidian, Shijingshan, Fengtai, Dongcheng, Xicheng, Chaoyang and Tongzhou all reported levels of AQI over 200, i.e. unhealthy air. Readings showed particularly high levels of larger PM10 particles.
The resulting layers of dirt found on windows, bike seats, cars and any other surface exposed to the storm led, perhaps predictably, to a reaction from the Chinese internet.
One Weibo user posted a picture of their dirt-ridden car saying that they had just washed it.
Image via @等等等橙/Weibo
Another shared a photo of their e-bike seat and said they felt it had “a new skin.”
Image via @刘庆蕊/Weibo
Others in Beijing said that they would take the subway rather than ride their dirty motorbike.
Image via @大于65kg/Weibo
A headline in Beijing Daily on April 16 read ‘After the ‘Muddy Rain,’ Yesterday Evening and This Morning Sees Long Queues at Car Washes!’
The article reported on a car wash in Xicheng district where ten employees worked for five hours non-stop yesterday evening.
Although the storm has disappeared, AQI in Beijing remains at unhealthy levels as of press time. Wearing a KN95 mask is probably still a good idea.
[Cover image via @环球网/Weibo]