Driest March, with little respite ahead

Singapore has just suffered its most parched March here in over a century, alongside some scorching weather.
Singapore has just suffered its most parched March here in over a century, alongside some scorching weather. PHOTO: ST FILE

Singapore has just suffered its most parched March here in over a century, alongside some scorching weather. And the next two weeks will bring little respite, says the weatherman.

Rainfall will likely remain below average, and daily maximum temperatures could soar to a blistering 35 deg C on some days, with short afternoon showers bringing scant relief, said the Meteorological Service.

"The warmer and drier conditions are a direct consequence of El Nino, which some meteorologists have called a Godzilla or Monster El Nino because of its intensity," said Dr Erik Velasco, a research scientist from the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology. High temperatures and less rain in the region could contribute to more fires, and if the winds switch direction, blowing more frequently from the east and south-east, hazy conditions can be expected, he added. The PSI here has already reached moderate levels, hitting 24-hour levels of 62-70 at 10pm yesterday.

Last month, Changi climate station, which is used as a reference station, collected just 6.2mm of rain, making it the driest March since 1869, when rainfall records started. But the situation was not as dire as in February 2014 - the country's driest month on record, with just 0.2mm of rain recorded.

And on March 11, the mercury hit 35.3 deg C in Choa Chu Kang, making it the hottest day this year. Out of the 31 days last month, temperatures on 18 days exceeded 34 deg C. The mean monthly temperature of 29 deg C was also 1.5 deg C warmer than the long-term mean for March, making last month the second warmest March here since temperature records started in 1929.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 02, 2016, with the headline 'Driest March, with little respite ahead'. Print Edition | Subscribe