The Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET) has presented the 2017 seasonal rainfall report in fulfillment of its responsibilities to provide critical climate information and advisories in support of science based decisions in the climate-sensitive sectors such as Agriculture, water resource Management, environment, health, disaster risk management, tourism and the communication sectors.
The incoming Director General of NIMET, Prof. Sanni Abubakar Mashi said this year`s forecast has brought in several new aspects important to improve both human and livelihood sectors including human heat stress index, malaria severity, dry periods and month by month rainfall during course of the year.
Prof. Sanni Mashi stressed that food Production is expected to be less than normal due to shorter growing season length over large parts of the country. This may be compensated by projected to 10% additional rains over large parts of the savannas. The warmer-than-normal conditions predicted for the northern parts of the country from January to April may lead to water stress and outbreak of heat-related diseases among livestock, however fish production is expected to be boosted in 2017, aqua-culturists should take precaution in areas known for high run off especially during the peak of the rainy season to avoid losses due to wash off of Ponds.
Similarly, rainfall amount is predicted to be below normal in Kano, Yobe, Bauchi, Gombe, kebbi, Plateau, Taraba, Benue, Kogi, Enugu, Imo and Abia States; above normal in Sokoto, Zamfara, Niger, Kwara, Oyo, Ogun and Adamawa states while the rest of the country is expected to have normal rainfall amount; Hydropower is however expected to experience a lesser boost as a result of the normal to below normal rainfall amount, practitioners in the power sector are advised to harness the excess water supply.
While speaking on health, Abubarkar said the warmer than normal temperature conditions predicted for February to April 2017 in parts of the country may lead to increase incidences of heat related diseases such as Cerebrospinal Meningitis (CSM), heat stroke, heat rashes etc, authorities in this field are advised to ensure adequate preparedness to tackle such associated health challenges, especially among children and elderly people who are mostly affected in such circumstances.