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Egypt: Sandstorms blow in cloud of dust blocking the sun

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Sandstorms and harsh weather are affecting parts of Egypt, bringing down visibility in Cairo where a grey cloud of dust blocked out the sky.

The wind speed over the Mediterranean reached around 50-65 km/h and waves reached a height of 4 to 5 metres, according to state-run Ahram Online site.

The bad weather forced the closure of schools on Wednesday in the northern city of Alexandria on the Mediterranean and in the provinces of El Buheira and Kafr El Sheikh, north of Cairo. The three regions have been deluged by heavy rainfall while the sun was barely visible in Cairo throughout the day.

The state agency in charge of ports in the Red Sea region said it had ordered all vessels, regardless of size, to stay docked on Wednesday for their safety.

"The sea conditions are unstable with waves ranging in height between 2.5 and 4.0 metres and a visibility of just 2 kilometres," it said.

"Dust storms or sandstorms generally occur in areas where the ground is covered with loose dust or sand," the World Meteorological Organization.

Sandstorms are most common in Cairo in the late winter and early spring.

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