Harmattan Season should begin from first week of December, 2021, throughout January, and end during March, 2022.
This wasn’t the case last year, as the season began from last week November until first week of February, as there was an early onset rainfall.
As we are know, so many factors contribute to the commencement of harmattan. One of which is a colloquialism by Nigerians termed Harmattan rains.
In Nigerian parlance, harmattan rains are significantly the last rains of the rainy season that will usher in Harmattan season. As they are the last, the rains are characterised by heavy winds, thunderstorms, and persistent downpour.
Harmattan rains can last for days and there is no general principle yet, as to how long the rains will fall before harmattan sets in.
Another factor that signals Harmattan season is Harmattan breeze. Immediately after the rains have subsidised. The cold breezes would gently blow throughout the day. There would be little sunshine, as the clouds would still contain water, residue from the previous rains.
Harmattan haze (heavy amount of dust in the atmosphere that obstruct visibility) is a major identifier of Harmattan season.
The sun is blocked by the Haze and temperatures at early hours of the day (before noon) can be as low as 9 °C (48 °F). After noon, the temperature can also soar to as high as 30 °C (86 °F).
Some Nigerians may erroneously compare the cold hours of the day to Winter. This might be due to the chilling winds the Harmattan season brings.
However, winter is the coldest season in European and American countries, usually accompanied by snowfall whereas Harmattan is the driest season in West Africa, accompanied by cold dusty winds.
It is advisable to bath with warm water during the early hours of the day, as the cold cold from the harmattan could get into the body.
The dust has particles that can cause illness such as Cough and Catarrh, if inhaled. Hence it is noteworthy to wear a facemask when outdoors.
Also, due to the dryness of the atmosphere, prolonged exposure can cause the lips and skin to crack. For this reason, it is traditional in Nigeria to lubricate the lips and skin after bathing.
Personal experiences with some seasons of harmattan have revealed that protracted times outdoor can lead to wearing away of the outer lips due to the harsh atmosphere. Although, this can be averted by applying vaseline and moisturising the lips at all times.
Not to mention, harmattan also happens on Christmas and New Year days, which makes them special and memorable for us. The coldness of the early hours is chilling and prefatory for the onset of Celebration usually during afternoon.
Some parts of Nigeria experience harmattan than others. The Northern part of Nigeria is more affected by Harmattan due to their closeness to the Sahara Desert where the dry and dusty trade winds originate.
Northern states like Kano, Yobe, Plateau, and Nasarawa would embrace the biting cold in the early of the day.
Lagos, being so far, and closer to the Atlantic ocean experiences little effect of harmattan.