Local News

Sandstorm Overwhelms U.S. Troops Training In Kuwait

Posted March 7, 2003

— A massive sandstorm has caused serious problems for U.S. troops training in Kuwait.

At just before 4 p.m. Thursday, almost midnight in Kuwait, 50-mile-per-hour winds swept across the man-made All-American City, collapsing nearly 100 tents and sending soldiers scrambling.

WRAL's Julia Lewis, traveling with the 82nd Airborne, was among those caught in the storm.

Reporting by phone, Lewis said that "heavy, howling winds" hit suddenly. Tent poles snapped. Soldiers were heard yelling, and the tents were evacuated.

"There was sand everywhere," Lewis said. "Of the 100 tents, about 90 percent of them were damaged. Some of them are completely gone."

Likening the storm to a small hurricane, Lewis said the soldiers quickly sprang into action to shore up the tents with sandbags.

With the electricity out and the night sky pitch black, the complete extent of the damage won't be known until the sun comes up in Kuwait on Friday.

This wasn't the first sandstorm to cause problems in Kuwait

The Shamals, as the storms are known, can last anywhere from a few hours to a several days.

The last one hit a little more than a week ago. At that time, WRAL's Lewis

showed how troops cope with sand and dust everywhere.

Special precautions have to be utilized to keep machinery and especially weapons in top shape.


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