The Nigerian Meteorological Agency has released the 2020 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP) report to guide various sectors of the economy in planning and executing their business activities for the year.
The essence is to address the challenges of climate change and forestall extreme weather calamities across the country.
The agency warned farmers against early planting in 2020 season to avoid losses.
According to NiMet prediction, “a normal to above normal’ rainfall is expected generally with an early false start.’’
The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika who presented the SRP report, says “the earliest onset date is likely to occur on the 24th of February around the coastal zone of the south-south states while states like Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Katsina, Jigawa, Yobe and Borno are likely to have theirs from 2nd June this year.’’
“The earliest cessation date of September 26 is expected around Katsina and Northern parts of Sokoto while the latest cessation is expected on the December 28 over the Niger-Delta region.
“On length of growing season, a normal to longer than normal length of season’ is predicted.
“ In the year 2020, the length of growing season is expected to span for 110 to 160 days in the Sahelian region of the North and for 210 to 280 days in the South,’’ the Minister explained.
He stated that though the rainfall is expected to be near normal, heavy rainfall may result in flooding which could disrupt traffic, delay in construction activities and weaken or wash out the soil and culverts that supports roads, tunnels and bridges.
”Higher temperatures can cause the pavements to soften and expand which can create pot- holes particularly in high traffic areas and can place stress on bridges joints so drivers are advised to drive carefully especially during onset and cessation as the period is characterised by heavy down pour that can impede visibility,’’ Senator Sirika explained.
According to the report, changes in Precipitation can affect shipping in many ways, above normal total rainfall predicted in Lagos could affect port infrastructures, this could also cause delays in port and terminal operations such as loading and offloading of cargos at the ports.
The agency envisaged total rainfall amounts to be 400mm in the North and about 3000mm in the South.
It further predicted rainfall events that could be enormous and tend to give a false start of the season before full establishment of the onset of planting season over various ecological zones.
NiMet further forecast a severe dry spell that might last up to 10 to 21 days in the following states: Niger, Bauchi, Jigawa, Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Kano, Kebbi, Yobe and Borno in the months of June and July.
According to the agency, such dry spell may last between 2 to 3 weeks after the onset.
NiMet urged farmers to adopt soil-moisture conservation techniques to avoid crop losses during the period.
Senator Sirika also commended President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration for advancing the cause of meteorology for the development of all sectors of the economy.
The Director -General of NImet, Professor Sani Mashi said the agency was committed to continuously provide meteorological information to Nigerians in all areas of their lives.
On Malaria forecast, Professor Mashi said that southern part of the country and parts of the central states are likely to be in moderate vigilance, as air temperatures and other environment factors such as vegetation cover may likely favour the emergency of malaria.
According to him, “the entire north is projected to be in low vigilance, and high vigilance for malaria is expected over the coast of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa and River States.
“High vigilance for malaria is expected over the coastal states of the south, moderate watch is required over Benue, Kogi, Osun, Ekiti, Enugu, Ebonyi, Anambra, Kwara, Ondo and Oyo.
The Nimet yearly SRP is a science based climate information package in fulfilment of its mandate of advising government and the general public on all aspects of weather and climate.
The theme of this year’s Seasonal Rainfall Prediction is the role of Climate Information for Decision making in a changing climate.