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Powerful Dust Storm Rips Through Siberia’s Irkutsk

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A powerful dust storm swept through the Siberian city of Irkutsk on Tuesday, with local authorities reporting damage to buildings and a local energy provider shutting down power lines as a safety precaution.

“Irkutsk was hit by inclement weather, the wind speed has reached 28 meters per second,” Irkutsk Mayor Ruslan Bolotov said in an emergency statement shared on the the messaging app Telegram.

Videos posted online showed strong winds and dust engulfing city streets and residential courtyards, dramatically reducing visibility and creating dangerous conditions for motorists.

“There are reports of fallen branches, construction fences, billboards,” Bolotov said, adding that property owners and municipal workers were responding to messages about damage caused by the storm.

At least two city neighborhoods and several nearby settlements temporarily shut down power lines as a safety precaution, the local energy provider said in a statement.

Emergency services urged residents to stay indoors during the dust storm. No one was reported to have been injured. 

The Irkutsk region’s weather center said wind gusts were expected to continue and could reach up to 20 meters per second by Wednesday.

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