Dust storm slams Senegal

The severe weather signals a dramatic start to the country's rainy season.

    A sandstorm has battered Senegal leaving livestock dead and damaging the newly opened airport.

    A wall of dust swept across the capital, Dakar, reducing visibility and bringing winds gusting to 90 kilometres per hour.

    This type of dust storm is known as a "haboob" and is common in some parts of the world, such as the Arabian Peninsula, the Sahara and the desert southwest of the US. However, it is believed to be the first time that such a storm has churned over Senegal.

    The word haboob is thought to have originated from Sudan and comes from the Arabic word for wind. The storms are formed when air blows strongly downwards, towards the ground, picking up vast amounts of dust. This usually happens as the result of a decaying thunderstorm.

    The strong winds led to the death of a number of livestock and caused damage to the airport.

    Planes were damaged, as was the terminal building, which only opened six months ago.

    The haboob was followed by thunderstorms, which brought heavy rain and signalled the start of Senegal's rainy season, which runs until October.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


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