In a freakish and honestly terrifying turn of events, a giant cloud of sand enveloped Tehran today. The temperature plunged from over 32C to under 20C in minutes. Winds whipped at 113km/h. Trees fell. The power went out. Tehran looked like an apocalyptic horror show.
Although this sandstorm was especially severe, Tehran is no stranger to dust. And sandstorms have been getting worse. Poor agricultural practices like overgrazing have made the countryside barren bowls of dust that feed into storms. Dust storms also blow across lakes that are dried up thanks to mistakes in water management. One hopes not, but perhaps this storm is a sign of things to come.
This one has killed at least four people and injured many more, had the city's residents reeling. "I've never seen anything like this. I was afraid it was an omen of things to come," one man told the AP. The sandstorm lasted for about 15 minutes before giving away to rain and strong winds.
— Bahman Kalbasi (@BahmanKalbasi) June 2, 2014
Pictures: AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi