This Day (Lagos)

30 November 2012

Nigeria: NIMET Warns Pilots Over Poor Visibility During Harmattan

Pilots in Nigeria will begin to experience poor visibility due to dusty weather occasioned by the Harmattan, warned the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET) which called for caution and regular update of weather reports by pilots and airlines.

A statement signed by the Director General of the agency, Dr. Anthony Anuforom, said the effect of dust particles in the atmosphere in the southern Nigeria will include occurrence of early morning and late evening mist/fog conditions which also reduce visibility significantly during the period, noting that the outbreak of dust from the source region occasionally reduces horizontal visibility significantly; often leading to disruption of flight operations.

He said that persons living with respiratory tract infections and other health conditions that are aggravated by dust should take precautionary measures and avoid prolonged exposure to the inclement weather during this season, adding that skin and eye irritations would also be common during the period.

"The usual availability of dry biomass resulting from intense dryness and hot conditions aid the occurrence of bush fires during the period and bad habits of dropping cigarette stubs carelessly should be avoided," Anuforom warned.

The agency acknowledged that the 2012 rainy season has come to an end in the Northern parts of the country while the season is expected to end completely in the south by the last week of November.

"The end of the rainy season is usually closely followed by hot and dry weather conditions in the afternoons while the nights will be colder. Temperatures will generally increase across the country by as much as 3ËšC."

The agency remarked that progressively, the pressure systems over North Africa will increase which will strengthen the wind speed at the surface.

"This situation will allow dust particles to be raised at the source region (Faya-Largeau in Chad and Bilma in Niger Republic) and subsequently transported into the country. The relatively strong, dry and dusty wind from across the desert will become prevalent in the south as the dry season progresses. The atmosphere will therefore get drier with increase in concentration of dust particles and this condition is usually associated with increase in incidences of respiratory disorder," NIMET observed.

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