Saturday, February 28, 2009

Dust Storms

We've been having dust storms for quite some time across the entire GCC and the house is coated with a heavy, sand coloured dust that just won't go away, no matter how many times you try and remove it.

Because it's been said so many times before, I'm not sure why I'm writing it, but anyway here goes; there is no word in Arabic for snow (the nearest description seems to be, 'fluffy ice' [thel-jH moo-gut-tan]). However, there are several descriptive words in Arabic for the various types of sand, dust and wind:

Sand & Dust
dust storm:
arsifa al ghubar [arrse-see-fah al GHu-barr]

sand storm:
arsifa al ramleah [arrse-see-fah al rram-lee-ah]

sahara [sa-ha-ra] rather than the English [sa-har-rah]

off road sandy area:
mutaqa ramleah [mut-Ta-Qa rram-lee-ah]

sand dune:
taaz [ta-aaz]

sand dunes:
kuthban ramlee [Kuth-baan rram-lee]

hawar [ha-warr] (just enough to let you know it's there)

nesmah [nes-mah]

reah [rree-ah] + rear [ree-arr]

north wind (cold-ish, april/may):
shamal [sha-maal] (weather reports on the radio will say something like, "strong shamal winds today")

south wind (hot, june/july):
kaws [cows]

Media Reports
Three weeks ago the Gulf Daily News (An English lanugage newspaper in Bahrain) wrote the following article:

A THICK dust haze brought work at many construction sites to a standstill for several hours yesterday, while five flights had to be diverted due to poor visibility at Bahrain International Airport. Health officials also reported an increase in the number of patients reporting to hospital with respiratory problems.

The extreme weather was the result of a severe sandstorm over Southern Iraq, Civil Aviation Affairs Meteorological Directorate officials told the GDN.

They said it blew in across Kuwait and Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province, reducing visibility in some places to just 50 metres. The dust began to settle across the country at around 9am, but cleared substantially by around 10.30am.

Three Gulf Air flights - one each from Lahore, Kuwait and Muscat - were diverted, along with a Bahrain Air flight from Dubai and an Air India Express flight from Mangalore. However, sources said all flights reached Bahrain within a few hours after visibility improved.

Meanwhile, construction sites reported work stoppages for almost two hours, but supervisors said activity restarted at around 11am when the weather began to clear


Josh said...

Wow, I don't envy you in those dust storms! Interesting variations in linguistic descriptions, though, thanks for sharing.

Is there a season for these storms where they come more regularly this month but not the rest of the year?

wgaw said...

it used to be in the summer months, very strange for dust storms in Febrauary.

Alexander said...

there is no word in Arabic for snow

Are you daft? It's ثلج (thalj). If you're confused by the fact that ثلج can also be used to refer to ice, you need to realize that it depends on context, and you can also use جليد (jaliid) which is the more common term for ice. Google Image Search the two terms if you don't believe me, or try asking someone who actually speaks Arabic.