Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Dust storm causes flight cancellations in Cyprus

Thick desert dust affecting Cyprus for a second day forced the cancellation of landings at Larnaca airport on the southeastern shores of the island, an official said on Tuesday.

Airport spokesman Adamos Aspris said that by mid-day five aircraft were diverted to the second Cypriot international airport at Paphos at the west.

"Visibility was down to 500 meters and this was causing problems for incoming planes," Aspris said.

He added that take-offs are not affected.

A blanket of thick dust carried by east winds from Syria has affected all parts of Cyprus, according to the Meteorological Department.

An official said the dust started coming in over the eastern Mediterranean late on Monday, initially affecting eastern parts of the island, but on Tuesday morning it settled over all parts of the island.

Cyprus' most eastern tip is only 100 kilometers from Syria.

The Department of Labor Inspection said the concentration of dust in some areas exceeded more than 80 times the acceptable concentration of 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air under European Union directives.

It said that at its peak point, dust concentration reached 3,340 micrograms per cubic meter of air, with average concentration on Tuesday morning exceeding 2,000 micrograms per cubic meter of air in several areas.

An official at the Meteorological department said the phenomenon will linger for at least 24 more hours.

"Things will get better as the dust will gradually settle down starting in the afternoon," weatherman Stavros Vassiliadis said.

Desert dust from the Syrian and Jordanian deserts and even from the African deserts is not a rare phenomenon for Cyprus.

But it is very rare at this time of the year and what makes it special this time is its intensity and length.

Even the Meteorological Department was taken aback, having failed to issue its customary warning when dust appearance is imminent.

An official at the department said a low pressure system in the area caused the dust to rise and be carried westwards by an air stream from the east.

Police issued warnings to drivers on highways to slow down and the Labor Inspection Department advised people working in the open to take precautionary measures, like wearing face masks, and warned patients with respiratory problems to stay inside.

Hospitals said several people visited their emergency departments with breathing problems, but none of them was hospitalized. 

    Xinhua -

No comments:

Post a Comment

Only News

EL News

Blog Widget by LinkWithin