File Photo: Cairo is seen during a sandstorm, in this general view (Reuters)
Egypt suspended studies at schools across several governorates on Thursday after a fierce dust storm swept across the country on Wednesday evening, Egyptian state TV reported.
The suspension includes all schools in the governorates of Sharqiya, Daqahliya, Sohag, Assuit, Qena as well as other regions.
Wide areas of the country choked under heavy dust as a sandstorm blew in from Sudan, supported by winds from southern Europe, ruining air quality and severely reducing visibility in Egypt.
The bad weather has prompted government warnings for children and old people to stay home.
Municipal governors in the Nile Delta and Upper Egypt said the decision to suspend schools on Thursday was aimed at ensuring the safety of students and protect them against any risks posed by the bad weather.
The city and other parts of the country will still be experience some dust into Thursday, although it will lessen, the head of the Egyptian Meteorological Authority (EMA) Ali Abdel-Aal said in TV comments on Wednesday.
Thursday will bring temperature dropping by some 10 degrees, hitting lows of 15 in Cairo and the Mediterranean city of Alexandria and highs of 23 and 20, respectively.
Several major thoroughfares and highways across Egypt were closed off late on Wednesday as heavy dust significantly reduced visibility on roads. Some roads reopened early Thursday.
Navigation in the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea will be "severely disturbed," with wave height reaching 3-4 meters, state-run news agency MENA reported.
Alexandria's two major ports were shut down for the second day in a row on Thursday due to "bad weather conditions, high wind speeds and high waves," according to MENA.
Egyptian traffic officials have urged drivers to slow down and turn on all car lights to avoid accidents.