Experts Warn Of Harsh Weather Conditions
Weather experts in the country have warned of harsh consequences ahead as Ghana experiences a dusty harmattan and one of the lowest temperatures in its history. For the first time in the country's history, temperatures have fallen to near temperate zone levels, with Sunyani recording 11.6 degrees Celsius and 16 degrees Celsius on January 1 and 14, respectively, this year. Bole in the Northern Region also recorded 14 degrees Celsius on January 14, while Wenchi recorded 13.5 degrees Celsius on the same day. The Deputy Officer in charge of the Ghana Meteorological Agency (GMA) at the Kotoka International Airport, Togbe Gbegbie Fiamekor, who confirmed the figures to the Daily Graphic, said the extreme harmattan conditions and their attendant low temperatures being experienced all over the country were likely to persist until late February or early March and advised the very young and old to wear warm clothing, while farmers who intended to clear their lands for planting by setting fire to them should create fire belts around the lands. He also advised food vendors to cover their food because disease-bearing micro-organisms were likely to be carried along with the dust to contaminate the food, while seafarers should equip themselves with navigation gadgets so that if objects on the sea became obscure, the gadgets could help them. Reacting to the news, the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) also cautioned drivers to be extra cautious on the road. The National Vice President of the union, Alhaji Eesah Tetteh, in an interview with the Daily Graphic, said the extreme weather conditions and their attendant poor visibility were likely to cause accidents and, therefore, it was important for drivers not to speed or overtake other vehicles wrongly. "Those who speed need to change their attitude, especially at this time." he said. The Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS), for its part, has advised the public to be cautious when setting fire during this extremely dry period. The Deputy Public Relations Officer of the GNFS, Mr Prince Billy Anaglate, reminded the public of the existence of the Bush Fire Prevention and Control Law, 1990 (PNDC Law 229) which imposed fines on people who caused bush fires and added that anybody who went contrary to the law would be handed over to the police. He said any farmer who wanted to set fire to the bush needed to contact trained fire volunteers in the various communities to create fire belts to ensure that the fire was confined to specific places. He urged palm wine tappers to put out all the fires they set before they left the bush and people who cooked on farms to ensure that they put out the fire used in cooking with sand, while hunters should be careful during this period because their bullets could trigger fire. Smokers, he said, should also put out the fires from their cigarette butts before throwing them out, while vehicle mechanics who washed the grease off their hands with petrol should desist from the practice because when the sun shone excessively, it could trigger fire. Togbe Fiamekor attributed the current weather situation to the extreme winter conditions being experienced in the Northern Hemisphere and explained that cold air mass, which had its origin in the temperate regions of the world, was blowing towards Africa, adding that as it moved into Africa, which is a warmer region, it modified, became dry and carried with it dust from the Sahara Desert. "So it reaches us here warmer, but although it is wanner, we still consider it cold because we are in the tropics and we are used to hot weather. The poor visibility is due to the dust from the Sahara Desert," he said. Tamale, which used to experience one of the highest temperature of 39 degrees Celsius, now experiences about 33 degrees Celsius daily. Togbe Fiamekor said currently it was only the Western Region which had not experienced the extreme dry weather because it was experiencing some moisture inflow from the sea. "Currently, the Inter Tropical Boundary (ITB) is offshore and so the dry weather will continue until late February or early March. However, periodically, we will have an incursion of moist air which will decrease the intensity of the dryness," he added.
Source: Daily Graphic