Flash floods and jams as rain blankets Singapore

Cleaners clearing a flooded walkway at the National University of Singapore's University Town yesterday morning. Flash floods occurred in several places yesterday, including the area near Haw Par Villa MRT station. Experts say the rain is typical for
Flash floods occurred in several places yesterday, including the area near Haw Par Villa MRT station. Experts say the rain is typical for this time of the year, when the region is in the grip of the north-east monsoon.PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO READER
Heavy rain on Sunday night and most of yesterday morning caused flash floods across the island, including the Bras Basah and Queen Street area. The National Environment Agency said a monsoon surge was the cause, as stronger winds over the South China
Heavy rain on Sunday night and most of yesterday morning caused flash floods across the island, including the Bras Basah and Queen Street area. The National Environment Agency said a monsoon surge was the cause, as stronger winds over the South China Sea led to rain clouds forming. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
Cleaners clearing a flooded walkway at the National University of Singapore's University Town yesterday morning. Flash floods occurred in several places yesterday, including the area near Haw Par Villa MRT station. Experts say the rain is typical for
Cleaners clearing a flooded walkway at the National University of Singapore's University Town yesterday morning. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Tanjong Pagar among worst hit; drainage works planned

Heavy rain blanketed most of Singapore yesterday, leading to flash floods across the island and causing traffic to slow to a crawl.

One of the worst-hit areas was Tanjong Pagar, where flooding occurred along a 30m stretch of Maxwell Road, close to where it intersects with Tanjong Pagar Road. Flooding started at around 9.15am, and lasted 45 minutes.

Another flash flood of around 15 minutes was reported along a 20m stretch near the junction of Tanjong Pagar Road and Craig Road.

"Both areas are known hot spots," national water agency PUB said in a statement. It added that drainage improvement works at the junction of Maxwell Road and Tanjong Pagar Road will start next month, and are slated to be completed by the third quarter this year.

Heavy winds and rain likely caused a yellow flame tree to fall along Amoy Street at about 5.45pm yesterday, said the National Parks Board. The tree has been cleared.

 

Yesterday's downpour is typical for this time of the year, when the region is in the grip of the north-east monsoon, weather experts said.

In an update yesterday, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said the heavy rain is due to a monsoon surge. Surges are caused by a strengthening of winds over the South China Sea, which causes rain clouds to form over the region.

However, the rain is expected to ease up by this evening.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, the Meteorological Services Singapore (MSS) said the heaviest rainfall yesterday occurred in Kallang, Buona Vista, Queenstown and Marina Barrage. The rainfall in each of these four areas yesterday alone was higher than the rainfall recorded at the Changi climate station in the first three weeks of this year.

Motorists outside these areas were also delayed by the rain.

Mr Don Low, 46, a freelance illustrator, said he took 10 minutes longer than usual to drive his wife from their Kembangan home to her workplace in the HarbourFront area. "It took longer than usual to reach my flat by driving, and visibility was really bad - the wipers of the car weren't quick enough to clear the pouring water on the windscreen."

Earlier this month, MSS warned that the last two weeks of the month would be wetter than the first fortnight, though total rainfall for the month is expected to be slightly below normal.

• Additional reporting by Tan Tam Mei and Melissa Lin

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 24, 2017, with the headline 'Flash floods and jams as rain blankets S'pore'. Print Edition | Subscribe