The northwestern parts of China saw almost apocalyptic scenes on Sunday when a massive sandstorm swept across the lands, sending people running for cover. Visibility also dropped below 100 meters in some areas, and police were deployed along expressways to ensure the safety of commuters.

A video posted by the state broadcaster CCTV showed strong winds and a huge sand wall creating a fog-like situation city of Zhangye. Authorities asked the public to take precautions and issued an advisory warning of dry weather and fire risk. In the rural areas, the winds blew kindle onto haystacks and started fires, RTE reported.

Such storms are common in the dry season when winds cause sand from the Gobi desert to sweep across the region, clouding everything in a yellow haze.