The city of Dunhuang in Western China was engulfed in a massive sand storm, and videos are being shared of the terrifying event.
According to the South China Morning Post, the sand storm caused 330-foot-clouds of dust to descend on roads and buildings from the Gobi Desert to Dunhuang in the Gansu province.
The dust was so thick that even high-rise towers “disappeared” and visibility was reduced to less than 20 feet in some areas.
Local government officials issued a yellow alert for citizens to stay indoors and shut down major roads due to decreased visibility, according to Zhengguan News.
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In addition, ABC News reported that 400+ flights were cancelled out of two major airports until the storm passed.
While everyone was urged to get off the roads and go inside, there were some unfortunate people who got caught up in the storm, according to Daily Mail.
Among the people who were outside as the storm hit was a group of tourists at Mingsha Mountain and Crescent Lake Nature Park. They’d gone out to watch the sunset at the picturesque spot but never expected to be caught in such a heavy storm. The group had to huddle together and wait out the event, as sand and dust tore around them.
Thankfully, the storm only lasted about 10 minutes. Sand and dust storms are common in the area, particularly in spring. It’s not as common for them to occur so late in the year, especially not a large one like this.
According to ABC News, China has made attempts to keep the storms out of the cities, including by building a “great green wall” of trees to trap dust in, but it seems those efforts proved ineffective for such a large storm.
Check out some of the videos shared to Twitter of the storm below:
— Neil Schmid 史瀚文 (@DNeilSchmid) July 25, 2021
— Zhengguan News (@ZhengguanNews) July 25, 2021
Wait for 2 seconds, the world is completely different. Dunhuang encounters a rare summer sandstorm. west of dunhuang is a thousand km of no man’s land and Gobi Desert.But Many tourists are happy to face and have strange experiences😅😅😅. pic.twitter.com/84CUvAAgr3
— Sharing travel (@lsjngs) July 26, 2021
A rare summer #sandstorm hit west of Gansu Province in the northwest of China. In Dunhuang city, a huge sand front was caught on camera as it was about to swallow a community. The storm shrouded the region for over 10 minutes and visibility was reduced to less than 50 meters. pic.twitter.com/7ksRBjud4v
— WatchTower (@WatchTowerGW) July 26, 2021