Harmattan in February?

The sudden return of harmattan has left Nigerians in a state of confusion.

Harmattan season annually begins late November in Nigeria when sands and dust from the Sahara desert get carried by the winds through the country and other West African countries; it ends around the second week of January. The harmattan is a season in the West African subcontinent which is accompanied with dry, dusty winds that blows from the Sahara.

Over the past few years, there have been fluctuations in the appearance of the harmattan in Nigeria, varying from late appearance in December in 2014 to almost no harmattan in 2015.

In 2016 however, harmattan appeared briefly in most states of the federation whilst the most populated city of Lagos only experienced the season for two days – December 26th and 27th. Surprisingly, Harmattan strangely reappeared in the country on Friday, February 17 2017, leaving Nigerians in a state of confusion. Lagosians for one have raised panic over the sudden reappearance especially after the state has experienced two heavy downpours of rain, which naturally should have marked the beginning of another season.

Nevertheless, experts have given some insights into the sudden change of weather, which is most likely as a result of climate change. Climate change is a massive threat to weather stability, environment, health, food supply, and wildlife, to mention a few and its effects, if allowed in full degrees, will be felt worldwide.
Although weather conditions generally have become unpredictable; there is no sign of a near end to this strange February harmattan in Nigeria. Yet, a good number of people remain uninformed about climate change and its effects.

Hence, the February strangeness is another prompt on Nigerians and the world at large to take the issues of climate change more seriously than ever, especially as President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the Paris agreement, commiting Nigeria to reducing dangerous gas emissions which cause climate change.

Seeing how inevitable this harmattan is therfore, people are advised to:
• Keep away from dusty areas as often as possible
• Avoid exercises that require much oxygen intake
• Apply creams to areas of the body susceptible to dryness
• Avoid keeping flammable products carelessly as the harmattan may aid fire outbreaks.

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