Weather forecasters predict intense harmattan in December, January

Abuja, Oct. 18, 2017 (TNE) The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has warned that most parts of Nigeria will experience intense hazy weather conditions, otherwise known as harmattan, in Dec. 2017 and Jan. 2018.

The Director-General of NiMet, Prof. Sani Mashi, said in Abuja on Wednesday that the North-eastern part of the country has begun to witness hazy conditions.

Mashi said that the North-easterly wind, one of the two air masses that controls the country’s climate, has begun moving inward from the North-eastern part of the country in the last couple of days.

“Harmattan is definitely going to set in very soon and it has already started setting in the northeastern part of the country.

“The air mass is moving towards the country from northeastern direction, so from December and January it will cover virtually all the country.

“That is why we are predicting that in December and January, there is going to be much problem of dust and haze in most parts of the country.

“Normally, it lasts for about 70 days and the effect will be from one condition to another because there are some local conditions that could be modified.

“So you will discover that some locations that are open that do not have hills, there could be local disturbance that would not allow the flow of air in that location.

“And because of that you will discover that air will be flowing and therefore the haze will be more intense.

“But where you have hills that could be disturbing the flow of the northeasterly wind, it will be modified and the impact of harmattan will be a little bit less compared to other locations,’’ he said.

Mashi explained that while the air mass from the South-western part is moist and facilitated rainfall, the North-easterly air mass is normally dry and dusty thereby giving rise to hazy conditions.

He disclosed that the weather has changed in different parts of the country, saying that atmosphere over most parts are more dry and dusty than being cloudy.

According to him, this situation will continue up till December and January in different parts of the country and it is expected to be more serious in the northern part.

The NiMet boss said that cessation of rainfall has occurred in many parts of the North, while its impact on food production is yet to be ascertained since farmers are yet to give feedback.

He expressed optimism that the impact of early cessation on crop would be minimal considering the early warning from NiMet in its 2017 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP).

According to him, because of the alert given and early warning, a lot of farmers actually planted crops with early maturity in order to avoid this.

“It has now happened that a number of them have either harvested or about harvesting the crops here,’’ he said.

(TNE)

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