Actually, I was just informed by a very knowledgeable person (on another media) that this may be a bug, so the above may not apply.
The sandstorm was moved in a recent patch and has been a bit funky lately. Currently it starts left of A6/7 and cuts a wide swath centering over the unnamed city, turning south and exiting somewhere around F1. That’s why the desert doesn’t feel right. We get sandstorm indicators, but no storm or damage.
‘Rumor’ has it that the actual dungeon is left of the visible map around the start area of the sandstorm. So why would there be a sandstorm there?
I can understand the water thing, that’s just a part of the game since there is so much water on the south end, who needs a sandstorm mask?
But, off the map? That’s off the wall, guys.
So two things may need to happen.
Correct the sandstorm path, give use the opportunity to die in the appropriate place.
If that does not clear the Underwater City, then move the start area to the right. Can’t go there anyway because of the fence. Keep the graphics, they really look cool, but eliminate the danger of sandstorms in the Underwater City.
Apologies to the OP, but your post made it easy to dismiss what could be reality.