Multiple injuries were reported after a sandstorm ripped through parts of northern Turkey on Saturday, an unusual occurrence for the region.
Areas across northern Turkey, including the capital city of Ankara, were plunged into darkness on Saturday afternoon as a sandstorm ripped through the region.
A weak storm system moving through Turkey helped to spark areas of showers and thunderstorms across parts of the country into Saturday afternoon. One storm that developed near Polatli, located in the north-central portion of the country, brought strong wind gusts to the region. This caused a sandstorm, or haboob, to develop.
Ankara'nın Polatlı ve Haymana ilçelerinde kum fırtınası meydana geldi
Özellikle Polatlı'da gökyüzünde devasa toz bulutları oluştu, görüş mesafesi azaldı
Fırtına nedeniyle şehir merkezinde elektrikler kesildi pic.twitter.com/POy8mgBgbh
— DW Türkçe (@dw_turkce) September 12, 2020
Videos have emerged of the wall of dust enveloping a residential area in Polatli before heading to the northeast toward Ankara, the capitol city of Turkey.
The duststorm was followed by heavy rainfall and thunderstorms in Polatli.
By about 3:00 p.m., local time, winds gusted to 37 km/h (23 mph) and the visibility dropped to 0.80 km (0.50 of a mile) in Ankara with the arrival of the leading edge of the duststorm. Videos showed the streets descending into darkness as the thick dust overtook the city.
According to a statement made by Vasip Sahin, governor of Ankara, on Twitter, at least six people have been injured due to flying objects in the gusty winds. He added that no evidence of deaths or damage to property have emerged as of Saturday afternoon, local time.
Polatlı ve civarındaki ilçelerimizde meydana gelen şiddetli rüzgâr olayı üzerine ekiplerimizce yapılan ilk tespitlere göre havada uçuşan cisimlerden kaynaklı 6 vatandaşımız hafif yaralanmış olup şimdilik başkaca bir can ya da mal kaybına ilişkin tespit bulunmamaktadır.
— Vasip Şahin (@vasipsahin) September 12, 2020
Tents used by seasonal workers were also blown away by the strong wind gusts, stated a local news report.
There were also reports of a few small fires due to lightning strikes in the region, but were quickly extinguished by firefighters on standby.
While this is typically the dry season for Ankara, sandstorms are unusual for the city due to the mountainous terrain to the north. Ankara typically reports a combined rainfall of 42.5 mm (1.67 inches) throughout the months of July, August and September.
On Sunday the storm system continued to meander over the region. Storms could once again kick up dust across the region.
By Monday, shower and thunderstorm activity is forecast to become more isolated.
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