A massive sandstorm swept over Beijing on Wednesday, darkening the skies and causing mild panic among residents.
The storm, which some outlets are calling the worst in more than a decade, reached speeds of 45 miles an hour and brought traffic in the city to a halt. Visibility plummeted and authorities urged people to stay indoors after the national observatory, China's environmental monitoring center, issued a heightened "yellow" alert before the storm hit.
Some residents wrote they felt like it was "the end of the world" and questioned how they could "survive such bad weather." But many cities have grown accustomed to darkened skies as smog levels in China continue to reach hazardous levels. In February, China's Ministry of Environmental Protection said 66 of the country's 74 major cities were failing to meet basic air quality standards last year.
Take a look at some of the striking photos below.