NiMet warns citizens as harmattan season draws near

-Oru Leonard


The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has notified the public of the incoming harmattan which has already started in the extreme northern parts of the Nigeria.

This was disclosed on Thursday in a statement by the Agency, which reads: ‘harmattan season is characterised by the prevalence of dry and dusty wind consisting of fine particulate matters emanating from the Sahara desert blowing southward into the country. The severity of the dry season is higher and longer over the North due to its proximity to the Sahara desert compared to the South where rainfall is expected to last till December in some cities

Presently, surface pressure is increasing over the Northern Africa and strong surface North easterly wind is gradually building up over the southern Chad and Niger Republic which are the source regions of dust affecting Nigeria.  Some stations over northern parts of the country are already in hazy conditions with continental wind dominating the region while south westerly wind still prevails over the southern states and some central cities.

During the Harmattan season, sunny and hazy conditions are expected over the Northern states and central cities down to the inland cities of the southern parts with thick dust haze conditions which can impair horizontal visibility to less than 1000m (1km). Cloudy to partly cloudy conditions with scattered thunderstorms are still expected to prevail over the coastal regions till mid-December with occasional dust haze condition. Occasional early morning fog and mist are also expected over the southern cities.

The expected reduction in visibility in the coming weeks may disrupt flight operations through cancellation and delay of flights at some airports across the country. Road users are also advised to be careful and avoid over speeding especially during early morning period when horizontal visibility is impaired by fog, mist or dust haze. These weather conditions can increase traffic congestion or even cause accidents.

Day time temperatures are anticipated to increase across the country accompanied by decrease night time temperatures resulting in cold nights. Similarly, dryness is anticipated due to expected reduction in humidity and cloud cover. Surface winds are also expected to be stronger especially over the northern parts. Bush burning should be avoided as the dryness and strong wind can increase fire incidences and cause severe crop damage at harvesting period.

Dust Haze contributes to deterioration of air quality and has adverse effects on human health; it can trigger asthma and bronchitis attacks as well as cause cold, cough, catarrh, and even meningitis. Those suffering from these health conditions or allergic to dust are advised to take necessary precautions and take their medications to alleviate its effect on their health. The public are advised to take adequate water during the harmattan period to avoid dehydration and heatstroke.

The Nigerian Meteorological Agency will continue to monitor the weather and keep you updated by providing reliable visibility forecast that will improve safety and efficiency of economic activities during this period.’

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