Saudi health chiefs issued an alert today amid freak weather conditions in the Kingdom’s western region.
A sandstorm engulfed Jeddah, while 70km away in Makkah there was torrential rain and hail.
Meteorology chiefs had initially predicted a thunderstorm in Jeddah, but at 6.15 pm they warned that sand and dust would significantly reduce visibility.
The Saudi Red Crescent Authority urged motorists and residents to be safe and people with respiratory diseases to avoid going out.
The Jeddah General Directorate of Health posted health messages on Twitter, including instructions on protective measures against the dust, such as wearing masks, firmly closing doors and avoiding exposure.
Earlier, Meteorology and Environmental Protection warned that the sandstorms would hit the southwestern region of Saudi Arabia.
The civil defense would be on standby as surface winds were expected to cause low visibility, increasing the risk of crashes on highways.
They also warned those who suffer from asthma to take extra caution.
Dust storms bring increased air pollution which causes breathing difficulties in people with asthma by irritating the lungs.
Sand storms are frequent across the Middle East.