A vicious sandstorm blew across Iraq on Sunday as NASA's Earth-observing Aqua satellite passed 438 miles (705 kilometers) overhead.
The multi-day storm caused health problems, delayed flights and scuttled some of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's plans during his visit to the country. An Iraqi Health Ministry doctor told Reuters that it was "the worst dust storm we have ever had in Iraq." In neighboring Iran, the storms caused the government to shutter businesses for two days this week, according to the New York Times.
In this satellite image, the heart of the storm hovers over the Iraq–Iran border near the center of the photograph. The southern end of the Caspian Sea is visible at the top of the image; the tip of the Persian Gulf is below.
KVAL.com, the Web site of the Eugene, Ore., CBS affiliate, has an embedded reporter in Iraq who filed astonishing photographs of the same scene both during the sandstorm and on a clear day, showing the dramatic orange glow imparted by the ubiquitous dust.
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