Flooding: NiMet puts some states on high alert



Joel Oladele, Abuja

The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has issued a high risk flood alert in some parts of Nigeria in the next couple of weeks and urged residents in such areas to put precautionary measures in place ahead of time.

NiMet which is the Federal Government agency responsible for continuous observation and monitoring of rainfall events, forecasting and provision of early warnings made this known on Tuesday in Abuja through the Director General/CEO of the agency, Prof. Mansur Matazu, while issuing its forecast for August-September-October, ASO Season 2022 to newsmen.

The areas warned of possible high risk flooding are Central Borno, Northern parts of Sokoto, Kebbi, Kaduna, Bayelsa and Delta states. Central Kebbi, Zamfara, Niger, Western Kaduna, Yobe and parts of Plateau state were listed for medium risk flood area while the rest of the country may face less risk flooding.

For rainfall prediction, northern states such as Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Yobe, Borno, Bauchi, Kebbi, Gombe, Kaduna and Adamawa, are expected to experience “Above Normal” rainfall, while “Near to Above Normal” rainfall conditions are expected over parts of Southwestern states like Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Ekiti, and Edo states.

The DG added that “Near Normal” rainfall conditions are expected across parts of Kaduna, Adamawa, Edo, Ekiti, Oyo, Bauchi, Gombe and Ondo states, while “Normal to Below Normal” conditions are expected over the South-south and inland states including Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Abia, Imo, Anambra, Ebonyi and Enugu states.

He therefore urged “States and National Emergency Agencies” to “intensify adaptation, mitigation and response mechanisms”.

“States that are expected to experience varying degrees of flood episodes are advised to begin their awareness campaigns through field extension workers for possible response activities especially at the high risk areas.

“Measures to prevent mud slide disasters by relevant authorities especially in the South East are advised to be put in place,” he added.

Addressing the question on the synergy between traditional and scientific methods of weather forecast, the NiMET boss said the two work together and efforts are ongoing to document how traditional method can be used to complement the scientific method.

“We run an analysis across the world. There is what we call traditional weather forecasting, where people use natural phenomena like the position of the stars, behaviour of the animals and also plants to be able to predict weather. And since it’s just part of ingenuity of human beings, it has been on record that in Egypt for the last 5000 years, they were using the position of stars to determine the flood prospect of river Nile which also is the live fire for their survival and this has high absolute precision.

“Largely in Nigeria, we have evidence of this local interpretation and modification of weather but it has not been documented, so we are working with the department in Nasarawa State University of History and Theology to document this.

“However, even the traditional method when you digest it, because they don’t reveal the secret to their children, the nitty gritty of what they do but it has scientific elements in it because it involves burning cigarette smoke and this smoke will inject certain particles into the atmosphere and this is the same thing we do in science for weather modification that we call cloud shielding. It has been tested in Russia and the Southern part of Europe since 1960.

“So, this has been recorded over the years but because of the uncertainties and generally as human beings we should know there is power behind the climate and as such, what we can do is to study the factors responsible and be able to predict it. So, this exist and we are documenting it but we don’t have evidence of witchcraft in science.”

Professor Matazu also said; “The details of rainmaking have some scientific elements. An average farmer in Africa can predict weather. When a farmer goes to the farm in the morning and looks at the direction of the wind and the intensity of the sun, he will tell you any time between 2 and 3pm, there will be shower and it will happen.

“In the south we have seen when there is approaching thunderstorm, you will see goats, they become restless because they have magnetic feet and these magnetic feet feel the discharge of high voltage electrical discharge of the thunderstorm in the atmosphere and when you see the goats becoming restless, it shows the thunderstorm is approaching.

“For us in the North, we have some shrubs that fold during the transition period of dry season to raining season, we have some ants and animals that flourish and multiply during a certain weather, so all these is just to get it documented and we are very happy to combine the traditional method with the scientific method.

“Even with high advancement of technology, we use satellites, we use radar but we still use the conventional traditional method to be able to sustain the manual operation and also provide the backup for the automated. it’s something that exists and if properly documented we can align it with science.”

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