The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has predicted a “normal to above normal” rainfall in the country in the 2020 season.
The agency made the disclosure in its 2020 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP) report released in Abuja on Tuesday, January 21. The report’s objective is to guide various sectors of the country.
The agency envisaged total rainfall amounts to be 400mm in the North and about 3000mm in the South.
It further predicted rainfall events that could be enormous and tend to give a false start of the season before full establishment of the onset of planting season over various ecological zones.
“Such rainfall events are not uncommon; however, their frequency seems to be on the rise.
“Some forcing functions have been observed to be likely responsible and will be monitored carefully and keep Nigerians informed. Farmers should therefore avoid early planting during this period to avoid losses,” it said.
The agency further predicted in the SRP Report that the onset of the growing season expected to be near-normal to earlier than normal in most parts of the country.
It forecast earliest onset date likely to occur on Feb 24. around coastal zone of South-South states while Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Katsina, Jigawa, Yobe and Borno, are likely to have their onset from June 2.
“On cessation, a ‘normal to later than normal’ cessation is expected across the country.
“The earliest cessation date of around Sept.26 is expected around Katsina and Northern parts of Sokoto while the latest cessation is expected on the Dec.28 over the Niger-Delta region.
“On length of growing season, a ‘normal to longer than normal length of season’ is generally predicted across the country.
“In the year 2020, the length of growing season is expected to span for 110 to 160 days in the Sahelian region of the North and for 210 to 280 days in the South,” it said.
NiMet further forecast a severe dry spell that might last up to 10 to 21 days in the following states: Niger, Bauchi, Jigawa, Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Kano, Kebbi, Yobe and Borno in the months of June and July.
According to the agency, such dry spell may last between 2 to 3 weeks after the onset.
NiMet urged farmers to adopt soil-moisture conservation techniques to avoid crop losses during the period.
“On flash floods, the normal to near normal rainfall pattern in the country does not rule out the possibility of isolated flash floods due to increasing high intensity rainfall at the peak of the season.
“Especially, in areas that are naturally prone to flooding,” the agency added.
By Gabriel Agbeja