World

Sandstorm descends on Gulf cities, reducing visibility and diverting flights

  • Migrant laborers, some wearing face masks, work on a construction site during a sandstorm in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Thursday, April 2, 2015. A major sandstorm has whipped into the Mideast’s commercial hub of Dubai and other Gulf cities, reducing visibility, forcing flight diversions and making breathing outside more difficult. (AP Photo/Adam Schreck)

    Migrant laborers, some wearing face masks, work on a construction site during a sandstorm in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Thursday, April 2, 2015. A major sandstorm has whipped into the Mideast’s commercial hub of Dubai and other Gulf cities, reducing visibility, forcing flight diversions and making breathing outside more difficult. (AP Photo/Adam Schreck)  (The Associated Press)

  • Migrant laborers, some wearing face masks, work on a construction site during a sandstorm in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Thursday, April 2, 2015. A major sandstorm has whipped into the Mideast’s commercial hub of Dubai and other Gulf cities, reducing visibility, forcing flight diversions and making breathing outside more difficult. (AP Photo/Adam Schreck)

    Migrant laborers, some wearing face masks, work on a construction site during a sandstorm in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Thursday, April 2, 2015. A major sandstorm has whipped into the Mideast’s commercial hub of Dubai and other Gulf cities, reducing visibility, forcing flight diversions and making breathing outside more difficult. (AP Photo/Adam Schreck)  (The Associated Press)

  • Asian laborers cover their faces from the dust as they wait for their ride just outside the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, Bahrain, Wednesday, April 1, 2015. A sudden and strong sand storm hit the tiny Gulf island nation Wednesday evening. Incoming flights were suspended, the official Bahrain News Agency reported, but departures continued as of late Wednesday. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)

    Asian laborers cover their faces from the dust as they wait for their ride just outside the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, Bahrain, Wednesday, April 1, 2015. A sudden and strong sand storm hit the tiny Gulf island nation Wednesday evening. Incoming flights were suspended, the official Bahrain News Agency reported, but departures continued as of late Wednesday. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)  (The Associated Press)

A major sandstorm has whipped into the Mideast's commercial hub of Dubai and other Gulf cities, reducing visibility, forcing flight diversions and making breathing outside more difficult.

Dubai's airport operator said Thursday that four flights bound for Dubai International Airport, the world's busiest hub for international air traffic, were diverted to nearby airports. Eight other flights were diverted to the alternate Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central from other regional airports.

In Abu Dhabi, police say a 24-year-old was airlifted to the hospital after being seriously injured in a traffic accident caused by the reduced visibility.

The United Arab Emirates' National Center of Meteorology and Seismology warned of reduced visibility due to blowing dust of as little as 500 meters (yards).