From Charity Nwakaudu, Abuja
The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has said that dust is expected to be raised at Faya Largeau in Chad Republic, a major dust source region for Nigeria and the West Africa region.
Director General of NiMet Prof Mansur Bako Matazu, in a press statement released in Abuja, explained that the Saharan high-pressure cell and its pressure belt across the Sahara desert with centre value at 1021hPa on 17th is expected to intensify further to about 1025hPa on 18th and 1027hPa on both 19th & 20th.
The statement added that the tightening of its (Saharan) pressure gradient is expected to be strengthened on 18th and on 19th stressing that 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.
It stressed that the 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.
It also emphasised that Significant visibility deterioration is expected on the 20th in some northern cities such as Maiduguri, Kano, katsina and Sokoto with visibility values range from 5000-2000m with isolated cases of visibility below 1000.
It said that most parts of the central states are expected to be partly cloudy with sunny intervals while the southern states are expected to be cloudy with prospects of isolated thunderstorms.
It advised motorists to drive with caution especially in the extreme northern parts where reduction in visibility is envisaged.
‘More attention is expected especially during the early morning period when horizontal visibility is mostly impaired,’ Matazu stated.
‘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, however temperatures at night could be very low, adequate clothing is therefore essential.’
According to the statement, the expected reduction in visibility may disrupt flight operations through cancellation and delay of flights.