Expect more flight cancellations, NIMET warns – Punch

By Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja

A fresh dust from Chad will reduce horizontal visibility across the country in the coming days and may lead to another round of flight cancellations, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency has said.

According to NIMET, there will be further reduction in visibility in most northern cities, higher than what was experienced some weeks ago that led to flight delays and cancellations, including a trip by President Muhammadu Buhari from Abuja to Bauchi.

In its weather alert issued in Abuja on Thursday, the agency said, “A fresh dust has been observed over western Chad and south eastern Niger Republic as of today; these will further deteriorate horizontal visibilities across the country, especially over the north-eastern parts.

“Moderate visibility is already being reported over Maiduguri, Kano, Nguru, Obudu, Asaba, Jos, Minna, Abuja, Makurdi, Gombe, Yelwa, Lagos, Akure and Awka.

“Forecast is that most parts of northern cities such as Katsina, Maiduguri, Kano, Gusau, Damaturu, Nguru, Bauchi and Zaria are expected to experience a further reduction in horizontal visibilities to less than 1,000m in about 10 hours from the time of issuance or less.”

It added that a further reduction in visibility was expected over parts of the central cities such as Abuja, Minna, Bida, Lafia, Jos, Makurdi and Lokoja in thick dust haze condition with visibilities of 1,000 metres or less in the next 18 hours or less from the time of issuance.

NIMET, in its forecast, said, “Southern cities, including Enugu, Asaba, Ibadan, Lagos, Akure, Owerri and Port Harcourt, are also expected to still be under the influence of thick to moderate dust haze (visibility two to five kilometres) and localised visibility less than 1,000m in the next 24 hours.

“The expected reduction in visibility due to harmattan dust haze may cause cancellation and delay of flights. This is for the safety of air travellers. Road users should be careful and avoid excessive speeding, especially during the early morning period when horizontal visibility is mostly impaired.

“The harmattan dust haze has its attendant health implications; those that are allergic to dust are advised to take necessary precautions and take their medications to alleviate its effect on their health.”