The Ghana Meteorological Agency (GMet) says that this year’s dry season, otherwise known as the harmattan, will be mild, compared to previous seasons.
The harmattan is a dry, dusty wind that blows from the Sahara Desert to Ghana in late December and continues sometimes until early February the following year.
In the harmattan season, the weather is harsh on the hair, as well as the skin, while studies have shown that some micro-organisms that cause diseases increase during the season.
The Director General of GMet, Group Captain Stephen Komla, told the Daily Graphic in an interview that this year’s harmattan started in mid-November and was expected to end in March 2017.
He said in mid-November, the three northern regions were the first to experience the harmattan and “it has been moving gradually to the south”.
He said the harmattan was currently around the Kete Krachi South District and would hit the Greater Accra and other regions along the coastal belt “any time soon”.
Group Captain Komla said this year, the country would experience fluctuations in the harmattan season, adding that “it will intensify, relax, intensify and relax until the end of the season”.
Last year, the country was hit by a severe harmattan season which disrupted all forms of transportation in the country due to the poor visibility that was associated with it.
Although this year’s harmattan would be mild, Group Captain Komla warned that “that does not take away the dangers associated with the season”.
The usual fire outbreaks and health conditions, he said, were expected throughout the country.
He, therefore, cautioned the public, especially traders, hunters and farmers, against practices that could result in fire outbreaks.
“We must not set fire to any bush or undertake any activity which will result in fire outbreaks,” he cautioned, stressing that the dry weather made it easy for the bush to burn.
Group Captain Komla also advised that residents and shop owners must be careful when handling electrical appliances.
There had been instances when people had forgotten to switch off electrical appliances in offices after they closed for the day, which later led to fire outbreaks, he said.
On health, he said this year “there will not be the rampant spread of cerebro-spinal meningitis (CSM) cases in especially the northern part of the country, since the harmattan will be mild”.
However, harmattan is usually associated with heat rashes on the skin, while experts say harmattan comes with dust that can trigger asthma and bronchitis attacks, as well as cause cold, cough and catarrh.