Anxiety, excitement greet early heavy rains in Lagos, P'Harcourt, others

Chukwuma Muanya- THE GUARDIAN Newspaper

Major cities in Southern Nigeria have since Sunday January 20, 2019 been witnessing heavy rains with thick dark clouds. In fact, it rained heavily yesterday in Lagos and Onitsha and on Wednesday in Port Harcourt.

The rains, which started in most parts of Lagos around 10:00 a.m., lasted for over an hour.

It was still raining at New Market road Onitsha around 5:15p.m. yesterday. The situation caused heavy traffic in the cities because of the flash floods.

Residents of Port Harcourt experienced the first rain in the year with a downpour and cloudy weather on Wednesday morning.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalled that the residents had expected the rain last week when they experienced a partly cloudy weather.

The rain, which started about 7: 55 a.m., came down heavily with floods on the streets and gullies in areas like Aba Road, Rumuodara, Rumuomasi, Rukpoku, Ikwere road and Oyigbo area.

The rains could not have come at a better time since the weather, until Sunday, had been very hot and humid, which caused people to sweat profusely.

The rains brought a huge relief- the temperature and humidity have dropped.

Lagos had also witnessed such heavy rains on January 20, 2013 and 2016, which The Guardian reported.

The question on the lips of most residents is, “are we in the rainy season?”

No. Nigeria is not yet in the rainy season, say meteorologists. They explained the weather condition is temporal and that the Harmattan haze will return in a couple of days.

The meteorologists refused to blame the situation on climate change but however termed it climate variability even as they warned farmers not to get excited because it is not planting time in spite of the rains.

A consultant meteorologist, Cyprian Okoloye, told The Guardian yesterday: “We cannot say that the rainy season has come. I can emphatically tell you that we are not yet in the rainy season.

We have observed Southwesterly winds pulling out of the South Atlantic over Lagos and most of the coastal cities and that carries a lot of moisture into the hinterland.

That is responsible for continuous rains over the coastal cities and the hinterlands.

“We noticed that the intercontinental discontinuity (ITD) has pulled northwards in response to the movement of the sun and that alters South-West wind to move into the hinterland.

“This is temporal. We cannot emphatically say that the rains have come. Also in the South East, there have been heavy rains in the last four days. We have to be careful especially farmers.

In a couple of days the dry winds will return. Harmattan haze will invade coastal cities.

“This is not climate change. It is not every weather event that you term climate change. However, there is ongoing climate change. No doubt about that.

Temporarily we don’t want to say climate change but climate variability. The situation is just a variability.”

According to Wikipedia, the rainy season in Nigeria begins around March and lasts till the end of July with a peak in June.

This rainy season is followed by a short dry break in August known as the August break which is a short dry season lasting for two to three weeks in August.

This break is broken by the short rainy season starting around early September and lasting till mid-October with a peak period at the end of September.

A long dry season follows the ending of the short rainy season in October.

This period starts from late October and lasts till early March with peak dry conditions between early December and late February.


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