Strong winds accompanied by heavy dust has led to reduced visibility and air quality in the higher parts of the eastern provinces of Erzurum, Van, Ağrı, Kars and Hakkâri, according to Turkey’s regional meteorological authorities.
Dust clouds accompanied by muddy rain engulfed the areas into darkness, even during the day. The bad weather is likely to continue through tomorrow.
The authorities have warned of mud rain due to “dust transport” originating from Syria and Iraq, asking citizens to be careful and cautious.
Speaking to Demirören News Agency, Abdurrahman Şenyiğit, an academic from Dicle University’s Faculty of Medicine, noted that the dust storm could cause serious health problems other than causing pollution in rainy areas.
“When it rains, dust storm settles as mud. In addition to damaging cars and certain places, this may also cause serious health problems,” Şenyiğit said, adding that it would be better to stay at home for at least a couple of days after the rain, even in clear weather conditions.
Şenyiğit said that especially those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, respiratory problems and allergies should not open doors and windows while noting that when dust enters the lungs through the nose or mouth, it could trigger some already existing diseases.
While the eastern part of the country is struggling with the transport of dust, the west is under the spell of strong winds and rains.
Heavy rains and storms caused by south-westerly winds have engulfed Turkey’s western coastal regions and its largest city, Istanbul, on March 11, disrupting transport and causing minor damages to waterfront areas.
Heavy rains disrupted vehicle and pedestrian traffic in some districts of Istanbul, both on the Asian and European sides.
Some roads in Istanbul’s Pendik district on the Asian side and Gaziosmanpaşa district on the European side turned into pools of rainwater. Some minor traffic accidents were also reported because of water blockage on roads.
Meanwhile, strong winds also negatively affected daily life in the Aegean cities.
Some ferry services to Bozcaada in the western province of Çanakkale were suspended due to adverse weather conditions.
“It is estimated that the wind will blow in the form of strong storms over the Aegean Sea,” meteorological authorities warned.
The authorities also reported that the avalanche risk level has increased in the Eastern Black Sea regions with existing slope steepness and thick snow cover, stating that it was likely for the regions to experience new snowfalls, overlapping existing snow cover.
Hurriyet Daily News