The Harmattan

The Harmattan is a dry and dusty West African trade wind that blows south from the Sahara into the northwest coast of Africa and Nigeria this time of year.  The results are low quality air, a haze that limits visibility, and potential significant restrictions on travel.  It is intermittent from November through March, but is often worst in January and February.  Although most people complain about the interruptions it causes to their daily routines by covering everything with dust, and impacting their breathing, the Harmattan also pushes out the hot, humid weather, and replaces it with cooler, (about 10 degrees F cooler), and dryer weather.  It also provides for some spectacular sunrises and sunsets, as the dust refracts the light into soft, colorful images.  In its minor form, it is a nuisance, but if a major event kicks-up, airline travel stops, and people may not be able to travel far outdoors.  This is what happened on Rocky’s last trip into Port Harcourt.  Upon his return flight, scheduled to depart at 9:30 in the morning, the Port Harcourt airport was shutdown for lack of visibility and air conditions, (conditions are usually worse in the morning, and improve during the day).  By 1:00PM, conditions had finally improved enough that planes were allowed to land and takeoff again, making for a nearly all day experience to travel a 45 minute flight.


Please note there are no clouds in the sky, just a haze covering everything.