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‘Nothing new about cold weather condition’

The city of Jos in Plateau State has always been known for its peculiar weather condition especially between December and February when the harmattan season…

The city of Jos in Plateau State has always been known for its peculiar weather condition especially between December and February when the harmattan season sets in. The harmattan season in Jos and environs is usually accompanied with dusty cold winds and harmattan haze. However, residents of the city who witnessed this year’s weather spoke of an unusually harsh condition that they say they last experienced in 2011. The cold weather had become almost unbearable from the last few days of December to early January. But by January 14th, the weather had warmed up.
The past few weeks saw many people kitted in cardigans, hoods and stockings throughout the day as they go about their normal businesses.
The cold led to a decline in evening activities as evening trading and hangouts witnessed low patronage because most people will rather be home from 4pm to avoid the chilling cold that sweeps the city. Those who were unable to rush home were seen trooping and surrounding tea vendors popularly called mai shayi who use the harmattan season to make brisk money.
Yohana Bitrus, a provision vendor around Murtala Mohammed Way said, “I used to open shop late and close early because it was very cold two weeks ago in the mornings and evenings but now I stay as late as 8p.m.”
The harmattan season is a favourable time for Ibrahim mai shayi who has a tea stand at the Timber-shed market on Hill road. Ibrahim said he used to make up to N27, 000 a day with over 400 customers trooping in, in the mornings and evenings. But with the drastic change in weather, he said he no longer makes as much. “The recent change in the weather has now reduced the customers, though I still have people coming to buy tea but they don’t troop in as they did two weeks ago,” he said.
 Putting the present Jos weather in perspective during a brief interaction with Daily Trust, a weather specialist, Dr David Jeb, said the haze that covered the skies in Jos and some other parts of Plateau State a few weeks ago was a normal condition to be expected at this time of the year. “This is harmattan season and what you see is harmattan haze, not fog. The haze is to be expected in places around or close to the desert region and the haze thickens as you move up North.”
 Jeb who is a deputy director at the consulting arm of Jos-based National Centre for Remote Sensing (NCRS), refrained, however, from making comparison in the severity of the weather between this year and previous years, saying he needed time to obtain records of the previous years to be in a position to draw comparisons.
He also said he could not give temperature ratings because what was needed to determine such ratings was not available.
Mr Daniel Nnodu, NIMET Director Weather Forecasting Service said that the weather experienced was normal and did not call for panic adding that the agency was ready to update Nigerians on any abnormality.

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