NiMet Forecasts ‘Below Normal-to-Normal’ Rainfall Season

  • Frequent, severe dry spell expected in far north

Kasim Sumaina in Abuja

The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), Thursday in Abuja, stated that the country is expected to experience what it described as ‘below normal-to-normal’ rainfall season.

The agency, in its public presentation of the 2019 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP), revealed that the rains are expected to start late, especially in the northern parts of the country while the south-eastern zone as well as the coastal areas will experience normal onset of the rains.

It noted that while most of the northern states will experience earlier-than- normal end growing season, shorter length of the growing season was predicted for most parts of the country.

The Director General (NiMet), Prof. Abubakar Mashi, however, warned that, dry spells during the rainy season will be more frequent and severe within10-18 days in some parts of the extreme north around June and July, while the ‘Little Dry Season’ or (August break) in parts of the south is expected to be pronounced.

“And as such, put the country’s food security under threat due to the dry spell to be experienced in most agricultural producing states,” he said.

According to him, “these are risk factors for farmers in the affected areas and have to be carefully and scientifically managed.”

“It is necessary to state that the expected below normal–normal rainfall in parts of the country does not rule out the possibility of isolated flash floods due to high intensity rainfall at the peak of the season, especially in places that are naturally prone to flooding.

“It is also important to note that in every season, dry spells occur and in certain cases, it leads to crop losses.

“In this regard, I wish to urge our farmers and other stakeholders to get in touch with NiMet to access Meteorological advisories and updates within the growing season,” he said.

The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, while presenting the 2019 SRP, said: “It is imperative to note that the early release of this vital information before the beginning of rainy season every year is not only to ensure effective harnessing of the climate resource, but to also guarantee minimal losses from associated hazards, which are becoming quite devastating in this era of Climate Change.”

He said it was on record that increase of at least 30 per cent agricultural yields could be achieved if the relevant meteorological information is utilised.

“It is against the foregoing challenging background, that, Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) embarks on regular weather and climate predictions to help the public mitigate the effects of extreme weather events through Early Warning Systems (EWSs),” he said.