People at the Burning Man festival are coated in sand

Around 80K people attended the Nevada event in preparation of Labor Day to celebrate art and creativity.

The event is well-known for its out-of-the-ordinary rituals, such as the widespread use of bartering instead of money and the virtual abolition of cell phone use due to poor service.

A sudden and powerful sandstorm, however, nearly spoiled the festival's centerpiece, the torching of a gigantic burning man effigy.

Winds blowing up to 35 mph created a cloud of dust that quickly overshadowed the festival grounds and streets.

Amanda Young of the National Weather Service in Remo had previously warned of a dense dust cloud hundreds of feet deep.

The official Twitter account of the Burning Man project stated in the evening that the celebrations were closed to newcomers owing to whiteout conditions.