Rainfall yesterday among highest in past 39 years

Amount of 210.6mm more than half of S'pore's average monthly rainfall in January

EAST COAST PARK Top: The heavy rain yesterday led to ponding at East Coast Park, near Fort Road. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
PASIR RIS: The fishing pond at D’Best Fishing in Pasir Ris Town Park saw its water level rising yesterday owing to incessant rainfall. Between midnight and 7pm yesterday, 210.6mm of rain was recorded in Changi. Earlier yesterday, when the figure recorded in Changi had been 184.4mm, national water agency PUB said it was more than half of Singapore’s average monthly rainfall in January. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
KALLANG BASIN Above: The Kallang Basin area was deserted during the downpour, which may have disrupted some people's weekend plans. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR
EAST COAST PARK: The heavy rain yesterday led to ponding at East Coast Park, near Fort Road. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
PASIR RIS The fishing pond at D'Best Fishing in Pasir Ris Town Park saw its water level rising yesterday owing to incessant rainfall. Between midnight and 7pm yesterday, 210.6mm of rain was recorded in Changi. Earlier yesterday, when the figure recor
KALLANG BASIN: The Kallang Basin area was deserted during the downpour, which may have disrupted some people’s weekend plans. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

Sweater weather continued for the second day of the new year in Singapore, with wet and windy conditions yesterday.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) said on Facebook that widespread continuous rain, heavy at times and with thunder, was expected to continue yesterday and ease gradually in the night.

It added later that while the rain was set to clear overnight, thundery showers are likely this afternoon following a cloudy morning.

The wet weather has been so persistent that the 318.6mm of rain that fell in Changi from Friday, the first day of this year, was more than the average of 238.3mm for the month of January, said national water agency PUB yesterday on Facebook.

Yesterday, the heaviest rainfall of 210.6mm was also recorded in Changi between midnight and 7pm.

Earlier yesterday, when the figure recorded in Changi had been 184.4mm, PUB said the amount was more than half of Singapore's average monthly rainfall in January and was within the top 1 per cent of maximum daily rainfall records for the past 39 years.

The agency sent its officers to help Singaporeans deal with the flood risk from the rain.

"PUB's quick response teams were deployed to direct traffic and render assistance to residents in the (affected) areas... to protect them from flood risk," it said.

For example, officers helped residents in Mountbatten and Jalan Seaview to install inflatable flood bags to protect their homes.

The lowest temperature recorded yesterday, as at 7pm, was 21.1 deg C in Newton, said NEA.

This was lower than initially forecast last Thursday by the Meteorological Service Singapore, which predicted an average temperature of 23 deg C to 33 deg C over the first two weeks of this month, dipping to lows of 22 deg C on some days.

For some people, the colder weather was a relief. Investment analyst Law Kai Tsi, 33, said it was "uncharacteristically chilly" in Novena.

"Usually we're sweating like pigs in a blanket, so it's nice to occasionally experience temperatures under 22 deg C... I'm going to take the opportunity to throw on a sweater and go outside," he said.

Others had their weekend plans disrupted by the downpour across the island, while the wet weather caused flooding in places.

Chinese daily Lianhe Wanbao said that on New Year's Day, cars were stranded in flash floods in Lorong Halus in Pasir Ris.

Separately, photos and videos circulating on social media showed a fallen tree near Loyang Avenue blocking two lanes of traffic.

Associate professor of science, technology and society Winston Chow from the Singapore Management University's School of Social Sciences projected that the record for the highest total rainfall in one day for January could be broken yesterday as well.

"With the monsoon surge not expected to cease until Sunday, chances are this record will be broken with time to spare," he said in a tweet yesterday, referring to today.

The surge refers to a strengthening of winds over the South China Sea, causing extensive rain clouds to form over the surrounding region.

Prof Chow said monsoon surges are typical during this season, and that South-east Asia being in a La Nina phase now might mean more rainfall than normal.

The La Nina climate phenomenon is brought about when trade winds intensify, causing changes in atmospheric pressure and sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean. This concentrates the moisture supply around the maritime continent, leading to more rain clouds forming.

The Straits Times previously reported that La Nina conditions were detected here last November. This means wetter conditions could become more prevalent not only this month, but also next month and March.

According to an advisory by the weatherman, the first week of this year is likely to be wet and windy, with moderate thundery showers expected in the afternoons on most days over the fortnight.

NEA said this is the first surge in the current north-east monsoon season, usually with two or three surges during the season.

Heavy and widespread thundery showers over the island will also occur on a couple of days as well.

Correction note: This article has been edited for clarity.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 03, 2021, with the headline 'Rainfall yesterday among highest in past 39 years'. Subscribe