Nigerian Officials Worry Over Hurricane Sandy Ripple Effect

Officials have warned residents of Lagos that Sandy's backlash may cause a coastal surge in the next seven to 14 days.

Posted: 11/01/2012 01:29 PM EDT
Nigerian Officials Worry Over Hurricane Sandy Ripple Effect

Officials in Nigeria worry that ripple effects from Hurricane Sandy could send a strong coastal surge into the country’s coast, threatening residents of its largest, most populous city, Lagos.

"Normally, when such happens and the magnitude of it hits that part of the world, we always have a ripple effect in Lagos and around the West Coast of Africa,” Prince Segun Oniru, Lagos State commissioner, told Nigerian newspaper Leadership.

The warning comes just days after Hurricane Sandy slammed into the East Coast of the U.S., and more than a week after the storm marched through the Caribbean, leaving 71 dead across the region and critical damage to crops in Haiti.

“Our main concern is Lagos; it is a warning but not to create panic. Lagos lies parallel to the South America part of the world on the map, but Super storm Sandy has hit New York City and the Atlantic and the West part. That part of the world is northern to us, but we need to note that within the next 7 to 14 days, we may get a ripple effect," Oniru said.

Lagos, situated on Nigeria’s coast, is home to over 8 million people and is considered the world’s seventh fastest growing city. Commerce from the city generates an estimated quarter of Nigeria's total gross domestic product.

Africa is closely connected to many of the hardest hitting hurricanes that encounter the U.S. and the eastern Caribbean. Many of these storms start as “tropical waves," a group of thunderstorms that gain energy from ocean waters between 15 and 30 degrees north of the equator — an area that falls over the Sahara Desert in Northern Africa.

Forecasters learned about Sandy as it formed by a tropical wave about two weeks ago.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye)

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