x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Flights delayed by lingering fog blanket

Dust and haze to replace the nationwide fog as strong shamal wind moves in from the north-west.

ABU DHABI // Heavy fog continued to blanket most of the nation yesterday morning, delaying flights at Abu Dhabi International Airport for the second straight day. As visibility dropped to about 100 metres, six flights were cancelled and 12 others diverted to other airports in two hours, an airport spokesman said.

Forecasters said yesterday afternoon that the worst of the fog was over with the expected arrival of the shamal wind blowing from the north-west. "The shamal will blow away the fog but will bring with it some dust and haze," said a spokeswoman at the Dubai Airport meteorological office. The shamal would reach near-gale force over the Gulf but would be no more than a stiff breeze over land. The temperature was forecast to drop from a high of 28°C in Abu Dhabi on New Year's Day to about 22°C.

There were several road accidents over the holidays. Lt Col Mohammed Ahmed al Mazroui of the Abu Dhabi Police traffic department said two people died and 13 were hurt in accidents from Dec 15 to 29. There were three accidents on New Year's Eve, resulting in one serious injury and two minor injuries. Lt Col Mazroui said 646 drivers were fined during December: 159 for not using lights on foggy nights; 400 for not abiding by the traffic signals; and 87 for failing to follow the instructions of traffic policemen.

Major Abdullah al Shamsi, of Al Gharbia police, said only one car accident had occurred, close to Ghweifat Port, with no injuries. Major al Shamsi said traffic was lighter on the highway from Abu Dhabi to Ghweifat, near the Saudi border, because of the fog, and police had stopped trucks from moving outside Nahr al Tariq as an extra safety measure. He urged drivers to reduce speed, to leave more space between cars during the fog and generally to pay extra attention on the road and follow the instructions of the traffic policemen.

tspender@thenational.ae