CAIRO: A strong dust wave struck Cairo at 5 pm on Thursday sending pedestrians and street vendors scrambling for cover.
“We were just walking to the store when we had sand, papers and garbage blown in our faces . we immediately ran home, said one disgruntled Dokki resident.
By 6 pm heavy rain began to fall in many parts of Cairo and lasted for several minutes.
But the effects were immediate – pools of rainwater filled many of the city’s poorly paved roads and side streets.
Thursday afternoon rush hour was affected as cars manoeuvred carefully around the impromptu pools.
“It is the Khamasin season, so we are used to it, said Moustafa Ahmed, a taxi driver, as he dodged a Fiat 128 which had stalled in a pool of rain water.
The Khamasin winds are a series of dust and sandstorms which sweep North Africa between late February and late May every year.
Last week, Cairo witnessed several Khamasin sandstorms which shrouded the city in a thick yellowish haze.
But Thursday’s weather patterns were also marked by a cold front which swept in after the rains.
Traditionally, temperatures in Cairo range from 18 C to 28 C during April, but on Thursday night these dipped to 12 C prompting many in the city to reach for their jackets and sweaters.
“I just don’t want to catch a cold, said Akram, a pharmacist.
While colder regions have enjoyed warmer winters this year, fueling fears of global warming, Egypt experienced several cold spells lasting well into the beginning of spring.
Fawzy Ghoneimy, director general of the Center for Analysis and Forecasting earlier told The Daily Star Egypt that Egypt s temperatures are affected by air masses coming from central and Eastern Europe, as well as the distribution of pressure.
Sometimes low pressure exists simultaneously, causing unstable weather currently observed in Egypt, he explained.
Meteorologists agree that temperatures in Egypt have been lower than average.
Earlier, Magdy Abbas, director of the Meteorological Authority of Egypt was quoted in Al-Ahram as saying that temperatures dropped below normal by 3-4 C this winter.