Sandstorm Sweeps Kuwaiti Desert
Editor's Note: These sandstorms complicate matters. They usually last until April, and are followed by the searing heat of summer. CNN's weather forecast for Iraq shows nice weather until Thursday evening Baghdad time, at which point another major sandstorm will arrive. - wrpCNN.com
Wednesday 19 March 2003
Winds over the Kuwaiti desert have blown up a gritty sandstorm that has reduced visibility to just a few meters and may impact on invasion plans for the U.S.-led war against Iraq.
The driving winds and sand was described as fierce, CNN correspondents embedded with U.S. troops in the region said.
"It's bad, but not as bad as last week," one reporter said.
Last week's storm cut visibility down to one meter.
The blowing sand plays havoc with the eyes and throats of soldiers, but the larger concern is the impact on military gear ranging from sensitive electronic equipment to complex helicopter engines and rotors.
A severe sandstorm can bring any troop movement to a halt until visibility returns and could delay any ground invasion.
It could also limit air operations as targets could be covered under the sand cloud. But the storms would have little effect on satellite-guided munitions which make up the majority of the U.S. weapons arsenal.
The storms can also benefit ground forces by shrouding movements and cooling the desert heat.
Sandstorms are common in Kuwait into April.
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