The year 2012 is one which many Nigerians can never forget. The rainfall in July was so heavy that many highbrow areas that never used to experience flooding were monumentally flooded.
Cars floated like toys on flood waters. A few lives were lost and properties running into hundreds of millions of naira were destroyed.
Farmers lost many food stuffs especially grains and tubers in storage. Several acres of Rice farms and crops were washed away.
The irony of it all is that farmers eagerly wait for the rainy season as it signifies the commencement of the planting season. Land preparation is usually completed before the onset of the rains.
In Nigeria, the raining season starts at different times in the Northern and Southern regions of the country. Consequently, the climate in the North is totally different from the climate in the South.
Rainfall starts earlier in the South from the middle of the month of February until the end of October with an August break. The raining season is influenced and controlled by the winds from the South Atlantic Ocean known as the Tropical Maritime air mass or South West Wind.
The rains reach the Northern part of the country around June. Furthermore, the distribution of rain in Nigeria differs from North to the South and this has resulted in two different climates in the same country. Although Nigeria lies wholly within the tropical zone, there are wide climatic variations in different areas of the country.
In the Southern part of Nigeria, the rains are usually very much reduced from the end of July through August when a dry spell is experienced. This is known as the “August break”. The late rainy season starts in September and runs through October. It is usually not as heavy as in the early rainy season which is usually longer.
The rains this Year 2018 has been have been heavy and is being compared to the rains that fell in 2012 when there was widespread flooding in Lagos and many other parts of the country.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), in collaboration with the Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) warned of potential flooding in 12 states across the country between August and October this year. These are states that border Rivers Niger and Benue and their tributaries.
According to the two agencies, the heavy rainfall experienced throughout June and July means that soil moisture has either reached saturation, or near saturation levels in some parts of the country. With more rainfall, there is bound to be flooding. States in the flood planes and wetlands around these rivers namely Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Kaduna, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Yobe and Zamfara had been issued flood warnings.
NiMet stated that in view of the already saturated grounds, “floods should be expected in these areas because the soil is no longer able to absorb more rainwater in the coming weeks which coincide with the peak rainy season.” NiMet advised governments, communities and individuals in these vulnerable parts of the country to take proactive actions such as clearing water channels and drainages. They are to avoid activities that block the free flow of flood waters.