A SANDSTORM in Niger’s capital of Niamey in West Africa swept across the city on Monday as a wall of sand engulfed buildings and rolled across the landscape.
Impressive footage shows a large wall of sand appearing on the edge of the city as spectators described the moment as apocalyptic. Large plumes of reddish dust appeared to be hundreds of metres high in social media footage. Sandstorms are common across West Africa during the dry season, which usually lasts from January to April.
Social media users flocked to Twitter to describe the scary situation they were caught in.
One Twitter user wrote: “My apocalypse bingo card is full now.”
Another added: “I witnessed it, and that was damn scary.”
A third person said: “This is actually rather unusual. Some people are saying that it’s God punishment.”
A dust storm, also called sandstorm, is a meteorological phenomenon common in arid and semi-arid regions.
Drylands around North Africa and the Arabian peninsula are the main terrestrial sources of airborne dust.
Less than a year ago, a dust storm in southern Africa was picked up by NASA satellites.
People in coastal towns along the west coast of southern Africa watched skies turn red on September 25, 2019.
Fierce wind picked up and carried huge plumes of sand and dust westward toward the Atlantic Ocean.
The plumes were observed by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the NOAA-NASA Suomi NPP satellite.
The South African Weather Service reported that the winds lofted enough particles into the air to produce moderate to poor visibility.
Photographs from people in Alexander Bay show dark, hazy skies and streets that are barely visible. According to news reports, aircraft were unable to land at nearby airports.
The amount of dust lofted from land in the Southern Hemisphere is negligible compared to that of the Northern Hemisphere.
Africa’s Sahara Desert, for example, is one of the world’s major dust sources.
Still, when winds blow over dry areas of the Southern Hemisphere, dust storms can be fierce.