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Sandstorm engulfs northwest China’s city, dramatic videos go viral

As parts of China continue to grapple with the consequences of heavy rains, floods and typhoon, another natural phenomenon upsets citizens: a sandstorm. Dramatic footage of a sandstorm engulfing a city in northwest China has freaked people out on social media, with many comparing it to scenes from an apocalyptic movie.

A strong sandstorm with dust clouds at least 100 meters (330 feet) high recently hit the city of Dunhuang in Gansu Province, and CCTV footage from across the region has filmed the event. Stunning videos show a huge wall of sand slowly swallowing tall buildings and freeways, causing chaos and alarm, especially among commuters.

When it struck around 3 p.m., authorities issued a “yellow warning” and local police responded, helping to direct traffic and ordering drivers to stop until the storm passed.

China has a color-coded four-level weather warning system for sandstorms, with red being the most severe, followed by orange, yellow and blue.

“Home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Mogao Caves, Dunhuang is located in the Gobi Desert, known for its harsh climate and living conditions.” South China Morning Post Explain.

According to the regional weather service, the lowest visibility has been reduced to 791 meters, Xinhua reported.

“I couldn’t see the sun,” resident Zhang told local media Jimu News. He added that the city, which is a famous tourist destination located on the Silk Road, had not experienced such a sandstorm for several years. “At first I was enveloped in the yellow dust of the sandstorm, then it turned red and eventually black.”

When the clips went viral, it also sparked a conversation about climate change. Here’s how people reacted:

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