The Ghana Meteorological Agency (GMet) is urging the public to observe personal caution as the dry and hazy conditions experienced across the country is expected to continue into March 2020.
According to the acting Head of the Central Analysis and Forecast Office of GMet, Felicity Ahafianyo, although there may be sunny breaks in between the period, the harmattan season will continue for the next few weeks before giving way for the hot and dry conditions.
“[What we are experiencing now] is a normal occurrence for the season. In our weekly forecast we issued on Monday, we indicated that there will be intensification [of the harmattan] from the midweek into the weekend and this is what we are experiencing,” she told Citi News.
The harmattan season which was expected in November 2019 was experienced in most parts of the country around December 2019 but was not as intense as expected.
The period is usually characterized by long periods of extremely dry and hazy conditions among other desert-like weather conditions with dust particles suspending in the air.
For most people especially in the southern part of the country, the period has seen the condition intensify only briefly before the weather condition appears normal.
The harmattan condition which seemed relaxed over the past two weeks has intensified from the 10th February 2020.
But according to Felicity Ahafianyo, the intensified harmattan condition will continue until the weekend.
“For now, it will be with us up to about 15th February and then we’ll have the relaxation, but for the morning hours, it is possible we will have some misty and foggy conditions especially over Axim, Takoradi, Half-Assin, that is the South Western coast of Ghana.”
“Currently, this I think is the fourth outburst we are having for the 2019/2020 harmattan season for Ghana. For this current outburst we are experiencing, we anticipate that by the close of the week, it will relax a bit in some areas and totally around next week,” she said.
‘Caution against bush fires’
She further urged the public be to be careful in the use of fires to avoid fire-related accidents.
“The atmosphere is dry, over the north and the relative humidity is very low, that means that any careless handling of fire could result in an outbreak of bush fires. This is not just for the whole country, even in the coastal belt, the green leaf that you see is actually dry so we should handle fire with care,” she said.
“Those who are cooking, those who roast plantain along the streets, palm wine tappers, hunters and anybody that handles fire, this is the season that we need to be extra careful,” Felicity Ahafianyo added.
by Jonas Nyabor