The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET) has warned of possible bird strike incidents, flight delays, and cancellations as the dry season begins in most parts of the country.
NiMET said bird strike incidents are possible due to the influx of migratory birds to the country from other parts of the world.
The Director-General of NiMET, Prof. Mansur Matazu, stated this on Wednesday in its forecast circular sent to journalists.
Alert to airlines and travellers: The circular also served as an alert to airline operators and travellers about the most likely impact of harmattan haze on air travel. It stressed that this could disrupt flight operations due to the onset of the change in weather conditions.
NiMET emphasised that air turbulence and bird strikes would combine to cause flight delays and cancellations across most parts of the nation’s airports.
Airlines should plan for aviation fuel: NiMET said airline operators should plan adequately for aviation fuel as the amount of fuel consumed by the aircraft would be more during this period. The DG explained:
“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. The Nigerian Meteorological Agency alerts the public of the possible commencement of the dry season, otherwise called the harmattan season, in most parts of the north.
“The climate of Nigeria is characterized by two distinct seasons; the rainy season and the dry season. The rainy season usually lasts 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 the rainy season and the beginning of the next rainy season is the dry season which is what is unfolding.”
8 states most prone to dust haze: NiMET also warned of dust haze in at least eight northern states of the country in the next 24 hours, saying the dry season is synonymous with dust haze. The agency mentioned the eight northern states including Maiduguri Yobe, Katsina, Kano, Kaduna, Gombe, Bauchi and Jigawa States. Meanwhile, other northern states, including North-central, could report sunny and hazy visibility of 5–7km within the period.
Matazu warned that this weather condition would persist for the next three days in the aforementioned northern states, adding that there is an observed gradual increase in the day-time temperature.
NiMET emphasised that for places where visibility is impaired by dust haze, motorists should drive cautiously, while people with respiratory issues should apply necessary caution, especially for outdoor activities.
Besides, Matazu advised airline operators to get updated weather reports from NiMet offices for effective planning of their operations, stressing that with warmer temperatures, there are higher chances of clear air turbulence.
The agency further advised motorists to adhere strictly to recommended tyre pressure by the manufacturers especially during the hot days to safeguard against tyre bursts.
He said that NiMET would keep track of the changes in weather to the public and provide updates when necessary.
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