Climatologist Identifies Factors For Calabar Floods

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Climate change is responsible for the extreme rainfall in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, leading to perennial flooding of some parts of the metropolis, a climatologost has said.

Dr. Imo Ekpoh, an Associate Professor of Climatology, Department of Geography and Regional Planning, University of Calabar, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Calabar on Sunday.

Ekpoh, who was reacting to the July 23 downpour which resulted to the flooding of most parts of Calabar, said that coastal areas in the state experienced perennial flooding in the prevailing climatic trend.

He called for urban renewal and stressed the need for coastal communities, towns and locations to re-design their drains to cope with the volume of water from rainfall.

“The rainfall is too heavy. The one that caused the Lagos floods about two weeks ago came up to 231 millimetres a day. This is rainfall that is expected to fall in a whole month and I tell you, climate change is responsible for that. The same phenomenon was responsible for the July 23 floods in Calabar and that day’s rainfall should also be considered as extreme. It was not the usual rainfall, quite outside the band of tolerance”, he said.

He said that the surprise factor in the climate change phenomenon was of serious concern.

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“If you look at the records of rainfall in the city in the past 50 years, you may not find this amount occurring in July.

“For instance, in July 2006, we recorded 459.5 millimetres of rain, 158.6 millimetres during the same period in 2007, 245.5 millimetres in 2008, 163.0 in 2009 and July 2010 recorded 316.7 millimetres.

“Also, on July 23, 2006, precisely, our weather data showed that we recorded 17.6 mm; 2.9 mm in 2007, 11.6 mm in 2008; 0.0 in 2009 and 2010, respectively, and 36.5 mm on the same day in 2011”, he disclosed.

The Geography teacher said that the July 23 rain in Calabar was devastating, because it overwhelmed the drains, which were designed to cope with only normal rainfall.

“These days, gutters are overwhelmed, roads are heavily flooded and houses are brought down just as people are being displaced,” he lamented, adding that climate change had altered drainage engineering greatly.

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