Chief Meteorologist Harps On Recent Flash Floods / Climate Change Impacts


By Madiba Singhateh

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Environment Column and in this edition, we will bring you excerpts of an interview that this Columnist had with Tijani Bojang, Chief Meteorologist and forecaster at the Department of Water Resources. Mr Bojang opened up to Foroyaa to explain the phenomenon behind the recent heavy rains of 30th and 31st July, 2022, which resulted in unprecedented floods across the country.

According to Mr. Bojang, the heavy rains which have caused immense damages and loss of life(ves) in many places across the country, can be attributed significantly to the much talked about ‘climate change’ or an extreme weather event which brought unprecedented amounts of rainfall registered in less than twenty four hours.

In assessing this year’s rainy season which has just gone mid-way, Mr. Bojang said the seasonal forecast they released in May predicted above normal rainfall and so far the quantity of rain that has been received, surpasses that of the same period last year, causing havoc in many places across the country especially in the West Coast Region, Kanifing Municipality and the North Bank Region, where flash flooding which displaced many and destroyed infrastructure, occurred;  that for this reason, the prediction they made in May is perfectly in line with the quantity of rain registered because the quantity is above normal, when compared to the same period last year.

A reservoir full to the brim would not allow flooded water in Banjul to recede

“We expect more rains in the coming weeks but here I want us to be very careful and cautious when I say this because we can experience flash floods yet again, but this may not be in the magnitude of what we went through in July. We are not going to expect this throughout the season but more probably, in the next five to ten years as climatology records indicate that the wettest months will be August and September. We are just into the first half of August and we still have another half to complete the month before we start the month of September.

‘‘Therefore we will be expecting more rains in the coming weeks of September and not the type of rainfall we experienced in previous weeks. This type of heavy downpour may not likely be experienced again,” he said.

Speaking further, Mr. Bojang also attributed the flash floods to the much talked about ‘climate change’ which he said has already had a significant impact in terms of the unprecedented rainfall across the country. Bojang said climate change aggravates weather events to their extreme and gave an example of drought or precipitation which can reach their extremes when they occur.

Bojang said the best example was with the recent rainfall of 30th July when more than 90mm of rain fell within six hours; that this explains clearly the type of impact(s) that climate change events can make when they reach their extreme; that it makes weather events to become more violent because of the continuous warming trend of the earth.

In the case of the 7th July event, Bojang said the waves were stronger and it was something that has never happened in the country; that they have never recorded a wind speed of 85 kilometres per hour, since the inception of the meteorology services unit in the country.

In conclusion, Bojang said it is important for all countries in the world to double their efforts on climate change mitigation and adaptation because it is getting out of control and will take time to remedy.