The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has predicted normal onset of rainfall and normal cessation in many parts of Nigeria in its 2018 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP).
The Director-General, NiMet, Prof. Sani Machi, disclosed this during the public presentation of the agency’s 2018 SRP on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 in Abuja.
Mashi, however, stated that though normal rainfall is expected this year, dry spells during the rainy season may be severe, especially in some parts of the North as a result of climate change.
He said that to mitigate the negative impact of climate change, members of the public should plant trees which would contribute to improving rainfall pattern and performance.
“It is necessary to state that the expected normal rainfall in parts of the country does not rule out the possibility of isolated flash floods due to high intensity rainfall at the peak of the season, especially in places that are naturally prone to flooding.
“It is also important to note that in every season, dry spells occur and in certain cases, it leads to crop losses,” he said.
Mashi noted that earliest onset is expected to be from March 1st around the coastal region of the South-South part of the country.
Places like Sokoto, Bauchi, Lafia, Makurdi, Ado-Ekiti, Calabar and Eket are also expected to experience early onsets, while places like Yelwa, Bida, Abuja, Iseyin, Abeokuta, Lagos and Umuahia are expected to experience late onset. Other parts of the country were expected to have normal onset.
The Director-General also revealed that cessation dates of the rains in 2018 are predicted to start from September 28 in the North West and reach the coastal states around December 19.
On how the prediction will affect farmers, NiMet said farmers should supplement water stress with irrigation.
In his words, “Farmers around Sokoto, Katsina, Yobe, Zamfara, Kebbi, Jigawa, Kano and Borno are advised to source for early maturing and drought resistant varieties of seed to avoid waste of resources.
“The potential moisture availability, during the onset period will not be sufficient for plant growth and development. Early cessation in areas such as Jos, Ibi, and Ilorin are likely to create water stress, therefore there is need to supplement with irrigation”.
He, however, urged farmers and other stakeholders to get in touch with NiMet to access meteorological information and updates within the growing season.