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Snow and Dust over Inner Mongolia
This page contains archived content and is no longer being updated. At the time of publication, it represented the best available science. However, more recent observations and studies may have rendered some content obsolete.
A severe snow-and-sand storm hit an 80,000 square-mile
(205,000-square-km) stretch of the Chinese province of Mongolia on New
Years Eve, killing 21 people and leaving thousands of people to face
possible starvation. The affected area is located about 250 miles (400
km) northwest of Beijing. It is the worst snowstorm to hit the region
in more than 50 years.
Lasting about 3 days, the storm dumped 24 inches (60 cm) of snow
mixed with sand from the Gobi Desert, stranding many residents in deep
drifts. The Chinese Red Cross reports that almost 1 million people were
affected by the storm and at least 10,000 head of livestock are
confirmed dead. As many as 120,000 residents are in need of food and
The Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS), flying aboard
the OrbView-2 satellite, acquired this image of the storm on January 2,
2001, as it approached Chinas eastern provinces. You can see storm
clouds (white pixels) and windblown dust (brownish pixels) crossing the
Yellow Sea and East China Sea toward Japan and the western Pacific.