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Mon 18 Feb 2008 05:22 PM

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High winds, dust storms to hit UAE this week

Strong gusts up to 20 knots forecast until Friday, fog to continue until Tuesday, says Met.

High winds of up to 20 knots are predicted to hit the UAE on Wednesday, with dust storms and poor visibility likely to cause further traffic chaos on the nation’s roads.

The gusts are forecast to last until Friday and will trigger a temperature plunge of about four degrees, a Dubai Meteorological Office forecaster said on Monday.

The UAE’s offshore conditions will also be rough with winds of up to 30 knots, while waves are expected to reach seven feet.

Shamal winds are caused by a wave of high pressure that funnels through the Gulf between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and are thought to be the most hazardous weather condition in the region.

The cold, windy weather conditions follow a period of foggy weather throughout the UAE, which is expected to continue until at least Tuesday, the forecaster said.

Low visibility triggered by the thick fog forced the closure of Abu Dhabi International Airport for more than five hours on Sunday, and caused over 160 minor accidents on Dubai's roads on Monday.

The current foggy conditions in the UAE are not uncommon for February and are caused by low winds, high humidity and cool night temperatures, the forecaster said.

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