Singapore's dry spell is ending, bring out the brollies

Expect short thundery showers, says NEA

Singapore's dry spell is coming to an end.

The total rainfall for the first half of this month is expected to be normal, in contrast to the past two months when there had been less rain than the long-term average.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) said in its latest fortnightly weather forecast that Singapore is expected to have short-duration thundery showers in the afternoons on six to eight days over the next fortnight - with heavy showers at times.

The next two weeks are also expected to have some warm days with temperatures reaching 34 deg C, and slightly hazy conditions.

The island recorded 45mm to 233mm of rain last month, with the lowest level in the eastern part.

The usual average rainfall for March is 185mm, according to the NEA.

The country's dry phase usually begins in February but this year it started in mid-January.

Assistant Professor Jason Cohen of the National University of Singapore's department of civil and environmental engineering said there is "no scientific consensus" for this development, but global climate change could be one possibility.

"During the inter-monsoon period, it won't be as dry due to sporadic thunderstorms," he said. "The rain amount will go up."

The NEA also said that in the next two weeks, inter-monsoon conditions are expected to prevail across the region, with winds mostly light and variable in direction.

During this season, the Sun is directly above the Equator due to the tilt of the Earth's axis. This accounts for a higher midday temperature in equatorial countries like Singapore.

The hotter temperature is also what causes downpours later in the day. As the surface heats up, warm air rises into the atmosphere, cools down and the water vapour condenses to produce clouds, and eventually rain.

In Singapore, it is more likely to rain during the inter-monsoon season compared to other countries near the Equator because the island is surrounded by a lot of water, according to Dr Cohen.

"Equatorial countries with a large land fraction will see these effects only along their coastlines," he added.

For Ms Soon Kam Mee, 57, the expected rainy weather means it will take longer for her laundry to dry.

"It will definitely be inconvenient but no choice. Hopefully it will be windier so the clothes can dry quickly," said the housewife, who works part-time at a restaurant.

Mr Adaldo Salvatore, manager of Italian restaurant Rosso Vino in Robertson Quay, plans to enclose a section of his outdoor seating area with glass panels, allowing customers to "eat out" while still sheltered.

The 25-year-old said: "In November and December, it rained almost every day and my business was really affected."

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