Motorists are advised to drive with caution especially in the extreme northern parts of the country where reduction in visibility is envisaged starting this week.
This is because of the expected rise in dust at Faya Largeau in Chad Republic, a major dust source region for Nigeria and West Africa signaling the harmattan season.
The Nigeria Meteorological Agency NiMET in an advisory circular and alert signed by its Director General, Prof. Mansur Matazu says, more attention is expected especially during the early morning period when horizontal visibility is mostly impaired.
“The Saharan high-pressure cell and its pressure belt across the Saharan deserts with centre value at 1021hPa on 17th is expected intensify further to about 1025hPa on 18th and 1027hPa on both 19th & 20th. The tightening of its (Saharan) pressure gradient is expected to be strengthened on 18th and on 19th November”.
He says, significant visibility deterioration is expected on the 20th November in some northern cities such as Maiduguri, Kano, katsina and Sokoto while most parts of the central states are expected to be partly cloudy with sunny intervals, the southern states cloudy with prospects of isolated thunderstorms.
“Stronger surface (10m) winds at the dust source (Saharan) regions is expected, strong upper-air wind speed of about 40 – 45 knots, at the dust transport (925hPa) level, with direction that favours dust dispersion from this source region to the northern parts of the Nigeria”.
“Two major dust plumes are expected to be successively raised at Faya Lareau in Chad Republic on the 18th and 19th, the dust is expected to progressively reduce the horizontal visibility values in the extreme northern parts of Nigeria from the 19th to less than 5000m”.
According to him, hot and dry atmospheric condition associated with harmattan could result in heat exhaustion and dehydration, hence keeping the body hydrated by drinking water is crucial to avoid heat stroke.
The NiMET boss added that, adequate clothing is essential as temperatures at night could be very low.
Regarding air transportation, the circular explained that, there will be expected reduction in visibility which may disrupt flight operations through cancellation and delay of flights, adding that, this is for the safety of air travelers.
The Agency assures, it will continue to monitor the weather and keep Nigerians updated.