Two fallen canopies amid howling winds at the Tuas Checkpoint caused a massive jam for motorists heading into Singapore during morning peak hour yesterday. The canopies at the motorcycle and car lanes fell because of strong winds and heavy rain, said the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA).
Dire weather conditions played havoc with the traffic elsewhere, too, as rain fell and winds gusted across the island. The highest wind speed recorded yesterday was 61.1kmh at Pasir Panjang at 6am.
The falling canopies at Tuas Checkpoint led to an accident at 5.35am. A Malaysian motorcyclist and his pillion rider were injured, and an ambulance took them to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital.
ICA then advised motorists to stop using the checkpoint, while it dealt with those already queueing up there. The fallen canopies were finally cleared by 1.45pm, after which operations returned to normal.
Some cars had to be diverted. One of these belonged to a Singaporean motorist living in Johor Baru, who was driving his daughter to school. He had cleared Malaysian customs at about 5.40am.
The 48-year-old motorist, who declined to reveal his name, told The Straits Times that he was stuck in a jam for about 15 minutes. "When we were supposed to turn into the lane to Singapore customs, we were asked to make a U-turn instead. An officer told us to proceed to Woodlands to enter Singapore, but we didn't know the reason then," he said. "Considering the heavy downpour, I think the redirection of traffic was done in an orderly manner."
Elsewhere, there were sudden heavy downpours at around 6am, and accidents and heavy traffic at several expressways yesterday, including the Pan-Island Expressway and Bukit Timah Expressway.
The Land Transport Authority's Twitter feed had about 30 tweets of traffic news between 7am and 10am.
At around 8am, there was heavy traffic on Lornie Road and Braddell Road, stretching until Woodleigh.
The Meteorological Service Singapore had said on Monday that the first two weeks of this month will be drier and warmer than the second half of July.
But it noted that thundery showers with gusty winds were likely on one to two days in the pre-dawn hours and morning.