NiMet Warns Airlines on Increased Chance of Bird Strike

Kasim Sumaina in Abuja

 The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has alerted the public of the possible commencement of the dry season otherwise called the harmattan season in most parts of the north.

Consequently, NiMet warned the airline operators that the dry season would witness the influx of birds to the affected states, which according to it, might cause bird strike in the airspace.

 In a statement by its spokesman at the weekend, Mr. Muntari Ibrahim, the agency issued warnings about potential bird strike occurrences, flight delays, and cancellations as harmattan begins in most parts of the country.

 The statement said: “It is following weather report of observed movement of dust plumes from the source region (Niger and Chad ) where dust-haze and haziness, in relatively low visibility values, are expected into the county within the next 24 hours,

 “In the next 24 hours, there are good prospects of dust haze (in moderate horizontal visibility, 2000m – 5000m) over Maiduguri, Yobe, Katsina, Kano, Kaduna, Gombe, Bauchi and Jigawa States, while other northern states (including North-central) could report sunny and hazy (visibility of 5–7km).

 “It is expected that this weather condition will persist for the next 3 days. Worthy of note is the observed gradual increase of the Day-Time Temperature,” the statement explained.

 According to the statement, the dry season is usually a period of no rainfall in the North and a period of little or no rainfall in the South.

It noted that the weather would be characterised by dust particles, harmattan cold especially at night, high day-time temperature values, fog occurrences, hazy condition and associated health related risks such as meningitis, respiratory illnesses and more.

As the dry season begins, the agency advised stakeholders and indeed the general public that places where dust haze would impairs visibility, motorists should drive cautiously.

The statement said: “People with respiratory issues should apply necessary caution, especially for out-door activities. Airline operators are also advised to get updated weather reports from NiMet offices for effective planning of their operations, stressing that with the warmer temperatures, there are higher chances of clear air turbulence.

“Hot weather result in longer distance on the runway to generate enough lift for flight take-off. This increases the fuel consumption and requires adequate planning by operators,” the statement said.

During the dry season, the agency explained that there could be increased chances of bird strike due to influx of migratory birds. This constitutes hazard to flight operations.

“Motorists are also advised to adhere to recommended tyre pressure by the manufacturers especially during the hot days to safeguard against tyre burst.

“With reduced visibilities, flight delays or cancellations, in compliance with safety regulations may not be unexpected,” the statement read.

It explained that the climate of Nigeria “is characterised by two distinct seasons – rainy season and dry season. The rainy season usually last between late February and Early November in the South with a little break between late July and Mid-August, while it lasts between late May to early Mid October in the North.

“Beyond this period, between the end of rainy season and the beginning of the next rainy season is the dry season, which is what is unfolding.”

However, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency assures the public that it would keep track of the changes in weather and provide updates when necessary.

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