Apocalyptic sandstorms engulf cities and block out sun as sky turns blood-red

A terrifying video shows cities in south-eastern Brazil engulfed by sandstorms, wrecking people's homes and causing visibility levels to plummet to zero.

In the clip, someone cautiously walks through the heart of the storm as the sky is turned a disturbing shade of blood red.

Down the road, parked cars are barely visible as the dust cloud smothers everything in sight.

In the background, the wind is howling and a tree is whipped back and forth by the force of the gusts.

Sao Paolo was particularly affected by a storm, which the meteorological institute of the state university claimed was caused by a cold front moving in from Parana state to the south.

High winds also affected cities such as Palmital, Galia and Candido Mota, among others, while the midwest was also caught in the sandstorm’s path, the metereological institute said in a statement.

Palmital was one of the worst-hit cities as it suffered from an onslaught of dust and rain.

Close to the town of Panama, the high winds caused one of the city’s telecommunications towers to fall on a house.

Luckily, there were no fatal injuries.

Dust clouds were also visible in other cities in the region, such as Marilia.

The intensity of the winds began to drop after 4pm local time last Thursday, with the weather front moving towards the Sorocaba and Itapetininga areas, the university’s meteorological institute reported.

The maximum speed of the winds has yet to be confirmed.

Sandstorms are not rare in South America.

The weather phenomenon is closely monitored by NASA and the agency has reported an increase in velocity and magnitude of sandstorms recently.

On its webpage, NASA said dust storms from Africa’s Saharan Desert travelling across the Atlantic Ocean have previously been the cause of storms in South America and, of late, they have been severe.

NASA also warned of the danger to human health, saying "aerosol particles compromise human health when inhaled by people with asthma or other respiratory illnesses".

It added: "Aerosol particles are produced from many events including human activities such as pollution from factories and natural processes such as smoke from fires, dust from dust storms, sea salt from breaking waves, and volcanic ash from volcanoes."

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