HOHHOT, March 19 (Xinhua) -- A sandstorm hit western part of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in north China Friday, which could bring dust to the Chinese capital, local meteorological experts said.
The visibility was 600 to 900 meters and the wind speed was about 68 kilometers per hour in some areas, said Zhang Huiyuan with the meteorological bureau of Araxan League, where the sand largely comes from.
The sandstorm would strengthen Friday afternoon but weaken during the night, said Zhang.
"Given the severity of the sandstorm, Beijing will be affected, though it will just get some dust, but not the sandstorm," said Li Jintian, head of the meteorological observatory in Bayannaoer city, also in western Inner Mongolia.
The regional meteorological observatory predicted that 2010 would see fewer sandstorms than 2009, which had about five with the first one hitting the region on February 18, 2009.
Neighboring Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region was also shrouded in dust on Friday, with the temperature down by eight degrees centigrade, according to Ningxia's regional meteorological observatory.
Araxan League, located in western Inner Mongolian Plateau, covers an area of 270,000 square kilometers, with desert taking up 78 percent.