December saw warmer and drier end to the year

Umbrellas, cover-all scarves and water bottles were out in full force as visitors braved a hotter-than-usual December at the Merlion Park in Singapore. Last month's daily maximum temperature ranged between 32.5 deg C and 34 deg C.
Umbrellas, cover-all scarves and water bottles were out in full force as visitors braved a hotter-than-usual December at the Merlion Park in Singapore. Last month's daily maximum temperature ranged between 32.5 deg C and 34 deg C.ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

Weatherman forecasts moderate to heavy thundery showers for the first two weeks of 2019

Singapore had a hotter-than-usual end to 2018, the weatherman has confirmed, in a note that backed up anecdotal accounts of people having to seek shelter from the elements last month.

The first three weeks of December saw thundery showers and intense thunderstorms that developed due to strong solar heating.

"In the last week of 2018, Singapore experienced drier and warmer conditions due to strong solar heating and low rainfall under the stable atmospheric conditions over our region, arising from a low-pressure system in the South China Sea that drew some rain clouds away from our region," the Meteorological Service Singapore (MSS) said.

The daily maximum temperature last month ranged between 32.5 deg C and 34 deg C.

The highest daily maximum was 34.7 deg C, recorded on Dec 23 in the Newton area. The daily minimum temperature mainly ranged between 23 deg C and 24.5 deg C.

At the Changi climate station, the mean monthly temperature was 27.6 deg C. This is 1.2 deg C higher than the long-term average temperature of 26.4 deg C for December, slightly warmer than the same month for the previous two years.

The mean monthly temperature in December was 27.7 deg C in 2015, 27.4 deg C in 2016 and 27 deg C in 2017.

RAIN CLOUDS DRAWN AWAY

In the last week of 2018, Singapore experienced drier and warmer conditions due to strong solar heating and low rainfall under the stable atmospheric conditions over our region, arising from a low-pressure system in the South China Sea that drew some rain clouds away from our region.

THE METEOROLOGICAL SERVICE SINGAPORE

At the same time, two-thirds of the island received below-normal rainfall last month (see map).

The lowest rainfall of 126.2mm (58 per cent below average) was recorded in the Pasir Ris area, while rainfall was highest around Jurong, where 357.4mm (33 per cent above average) was recorded.

Fortunately, the weatherman expects some respite from the heat in the form of short moderate to heavy thundery showers, mainly in the afternoon, on six to eight days in the first fortnight of this year.

The prevailing north-east monsoon in the region is expected to persist, with the high-pressure system over northern Asia strengthening over the next few days.

Low-level winds are forecast to blow mainly from the north-west in the first week of this month, before shifting to blow from the north-east towards the second week.

A tropical storm is forecast to move into the South China Sea, leading to a strengthening of northwesterly to northerly winds over Singapore and the surrounding region in the first week of this month. "Coupled with slightly drier atmospheric conditions, warm and occasional windy conditions with passing showers can be expected on three to four days," the MSS said.

This warm and windy weather is likely to ease, however, with more showers expected towards the end of the first week.


The amount of rainfall for the first two weeks of January is expected to be close to normal levels for the month.

Daily temperatures in the first fortnight of this month are expected to range between 24 deg C and 33 deg C on most days.

But on days when there is little or no rainfall, warm conditions with maximum temperatures of around 34 deg C can be expected.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 01, 2019, with the headline 'December saw warmer and drier end to the year'. Print Edition | Subscribe