NiMet explains dust spell

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ABUJA – The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) said the dust spell over the country on April 1 followed strong winds over the desert that raised a lot of particles.

The explanation is contained a statement issued by NiMet’s Unit and Weather Forecasting and Climate Research Centre on Friday in Abuja.

The statement further explained that the particles were subsequently transported by the dry North-easterly winds into the country on April 1.

It stated that NiMet had presented the dust forecast on Jan. 7, and informed the public of possibility of dust outbreak that would affect parts of the country.

The statement recalled that the outbreak predicted to last through April when -easterly winds would still be dominant over the northern region.

It also recalled that on March 27 the High Pressure system over the Sahara desert began to from 1034hpa to 1038hpa, as then mid-latitude trough passed over the area.

“Two days later, the value reached a very significant threshold of 1038hpa resulting in very strong winds of 40 – 45Knots (72 – 80Km/hr) over the region.

“This resulting strong winds over the desert raised a lot of dust particles from the source regions which was subsequently transported by the dry North-easterly winds into the country.

“The already airborne dust particles affected the northern and the central states of the country on April 1, reducing visibility to as low as 200 metres in and 800 metres in Gombe,” it said.

According to the statement, the observed high pressure cell over the source region is weakening, but the winds are still very strong over the area.

It stated that the fresh dust plume that occurred on Thursday morning was expected as a result of the persistent strong winds.

The statement warned that the new dust episode was expected to further reduce visibility in the North-eastern states.
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“As the pressure system continue to weaken in the coming days, and the moisture laden South-westerly winds from the ocean continue to advance inland, the dust particles will begin to clear.

“The visibility will also improve progressively northwards in the coming days.

“This will not affect flight operations adversely because the atmosphere is already having enough moisture to cause the raised particles to fall off the atmosphere early leading to improved visibility,” it said. (NAN)
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