BEIJING, China: Parts of northern China, and particularly Beijing, have been enveloped by a sand storm described as the worst in ten years.
Over 400 flights were canceled in Beijing, as airport officials fought unsuccessfully to keep runways open.
In Beijing, skyscrapers disappeared from sight as blowing sand enveloped the skyline.
The Chinese National Meteorological Center said Monday's sand storm come from the Gobi Desert in the Inner Mongolia Region.
Within Inner Mongolia, schools have been closed and residents urged to use public transportation to reduce pollution.
Sand storms are a regular occurrence during the spring in China.
Inner Mongolia is often the source of the region's sand storms, due to its mix of desert and grassy steppe.
China's National Meteorological Center has forecast that sand storms would strike 12 provinces and regions from the far northwest to the northeast.
"This is the most intense sandstorm weather our country has seen in 10 years, as well as it covering the broadest area," the center said in a post on its website.