Heavy rains that caused devastation in different parts of the country and claimed scores of lives last year may still occur this year, even heavier in some parts of the North West, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NIMET, has predicted.
The agency also said Yobe, the northern part of Cross River and many parts of the South West are expected to witness prolonged rainfall. The North West and South West are homes to 12 states six apiece.
Nigeria, in 2012, recorded unprecedented floods that affected 27 states resulting in loss of over 300 lives and displacement of over two million people from their homes. The floods destroyed farmlands, livestock and other means of livelihood for millions of rural dwellers.
The Director General of NIMET, Dr. Anthony Anuforom, who disclosed this at the 2013 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction, SRP, in the country, in Abuja, on Friday, said that based on the prevailing conditions at the time of producing the forecast, it was predicted that, this year, the rainfall pattern in most parts of Nigeria was likely to be similar to that of 2012.
Anuforom said that in some parts of the North West, which also fall within the catchment area of River Niger, the total rainfall predicted for 2013 may exceed that of 2012.
"We have just released the rainfall prediction for 2013. The summary is that based on the conditions that were prevalent at the time of making the prediction, we are predicting that the amount of rainfall for the North West areas of Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger, Kwara and environs is likely to be above normal in comparison to 2012,"he stated.
"Relevant authorities are advised to use NIMET's updates issued regularly to control possible adverse impact.
"In 2013, the length of rainy season is predicted to be normal in most parts of the North and South, however, longer than normal length of the season is likely for most of the central parts of the country and over parts of Yobe, northern Cross River and parts of the South Western states."
According to the prediction, rainfall onset dates in 2013 will vary between first week of March in the southern part of the country and late June in the far northern part while most parts of the country are expected to have normal onset with the exception of Niger, Cross River, Anambra, Delta states and the South West.
"These areas are predicted to have early onset about one week. The chances of late onset of rains are low. The rainy season is predicted to end between mid October in the North and mid December in the South. The cessation period is expected to be normal in many parts of the country except for parts of Ondo, Delta and Cross River states where an early cessation is expected,"it stated.
"However, parts of the South West are likely to experience late cessation. In 2013, the length of the rainy season is predicted to be normal in most parts of the North and South. In the extreme North (12'N-14'N) of the country, rainfall amount is expected to range from 400 to 100mm, while in the South, it is expected to be between 1500 and 3000mm."
Besides, the expected rainfall and temperature patterns over the country in 2013 have implications for various sectors of the economy, while the length of the rainy season for 2013 is predicted to be between 110 days in the extreme North and 300 days in the southernmost parts.
"The annual rainfall is expected to vary generally from 400-3000mm over the country with the highest amount of between 2000-3000mm expected over the southernmost areas. Many parts of the central states are likely to have annual rainfall of between 1000-1500mm, and 400-1000mm over the extreme northern parts of the country,"Anuforo said.
"The information contained in the 2013 SRP, if judiciously employed, will no doubt contribute towards enhanced performance in various sectors and also reduce the nation's vulnerability to weather related natural hazards.".