The Lagos State Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources Tokunbo Wahab, has disclosed that the state will experience abnormal rainfall in 2024.

According to Wahab, a total of 1,936.2 mm predicted rainfall has been predicted for the state.

He revealed this at a news conference on 2024 seasonal climate predictions and socio-economic implications for Lagos State, recently.

He said, “The average annual rainfall predicted for 2024 was 1,936.2 mm, which was greater than the long-term average of 1,721.48 mm with the onset date expected to be the first week of April and ceasing in the first week of December.”

According to Wahab, Ikeja is expected to have an onset date of April 4 and cessation date of December 4, with a high annual amount of 1,900 mm rainfall, while Badagry would have a rainfall onset date of April 1 and cessation date of December 5, resulting 1,978 mm rainfall for the year.

He added, “Ikorodu is expected to have a rainfall onset date of April 4 and cessation date of December 4, totalling an annual amount of 1,903 mm. Lagos Island would have a rainfall onset date of April 3, a cessation date of December 4, and an annual amount of 1936 mm. Also, Epe is expected to have a rainfall onset date of April 2, a cessation date of December 5, and an annual amount of 1952 mm.”

The commissioner noted that below-normal rainfall was anticipated in the first half of the rainy season, while normal to above-normal rainfall was expected in the second half of the rainy season.

Speaking on the ministry’s collaboration with NiMet on seasonal climate prediction, Wahab remarked that the partnership had been valuable as a vital weather and early warning tool for farmers, decision-makers, operators of the various sectors, and businesses likely to be impacted by the annual rainfall.

“The government has plans to downscale the seasonal climate prediction to stakeholders and emergency workers in the state. In addition, the state has deployed and maintained its network of weather stations and river gauge stations to monitor the weather and river levels in the state and increase preparedness for weather and flood-related issues.

“We want to assure you that our state will continue to reap the benefits of careful and rigorous execution planning, as our flood control measures are stepped up to contain any imminent rainfall. The ministry has embarked on an all-year-round drainage maintenance programme for effective and efficient flood control, in addition to an efficient and sustainable solid waste management system,” Wahab declared.

He noted that to effectively contain flooding in the state, the government was determined to maintain a partnership with the Ogun-Osun River Basin Authority.

He assured that the rainfall from neighbouring Ogun, Oyo, and Osun States, dam release, and river water levels into the state would also be monitored.

He asserted that the partnership ensured control and monitoring of the steady and systemic release of water from Oyan Dam to prevent flooding as it reached the Ogun River.

He noted that proactively, the state had strengthened the flood early warning systems to deliver reliable, timely, and effective flood information at an appropriate response time.

According to the commissioner, the low-lying Agiliti, Agboyi, Itowolo, and Ajegunle communities would be closely monitored concerning the likelihood of Ogun River flooding as well as all other river basins in the state.

He explained that it was expected that the high amounts of rainfall and other contributory factors might lead to flooding in some parts of the state and that might lead to a rise in the lagoon level.

He noted, “Anytime there was high tidal movement, it could lock up the discharge points of drainage channels and until it receded, there would be no discharge. Such occurrences could cause backflow resulting in flooding and as soon as the lagoon receded, all the generated storm water would immediately be discharged, and the roads would be free.

“It is only when stormwater remains on the roads for hours that there should be reports of flooding. The government has put all emergency response organisations, traffic management organisations, and other emergency-related organisations on high alert to help lessen the effects of thunderstorms and associated rains in the state.”

He maintained that the government would ramp up sensitisation for residents along flood plains of major rivers such as Owode, Iwaya, Makoko, Badia, Ijora, Isaalu, Pota, and Shibiri, to be ready to relocate to higher grounds when the need arose.

He added that drainage engineers were available in all 57 local government and local council development areas to attend to drainage-related matters during and after the rainy season.

Also speaking, the Special Adviser on Environment, Olakunle Rotimi-Akodu, appealed to residents to support the efforts of the government through regular cleaning of drains to ensure free flow of stormwater as well as desist from dumping of refuse into drainage channels.