Flash flood in Orchard Road

Above: Murky water flooding Cavenagh Road near Kramat Lane yesterday. Left: Heavy rain pelting down in the afternoon in Chinatown. Contractor Toh Wei Kian checking the drains in the Orchard Road area to see if any needed repair.
Contractor Toh Wei Kian checking the drains in the Orchard Road area to see if any needed repair.ST PHOTO: LEE JIA WEN
Above: Murky water flooding Cavenagh Road near Kramat Lane yesterday. Left: Heavy rain pelting down in the afternoon in Chinatown. Contractor Toh Wei Kian checking the drains in the Orchard Road area to see if any needed repair.
Murky water flooding Cavenagh Road near Kramat Lane yesterday. PHOTOS: FACEBOOK/SG ROAD VIGILANTE, LIANHE ZAOBAO
Above: Murky water flooding Cavenagh Road near Kramat Lane yesterday. Left: Heavy rain pelting down in the afternoon in Chinatown. Contractor Toh Wei Kian checking the drains in the Orchard Road area to see if any needed repair.
Heavy rain pelting down in the afternoon in Chinatown. PHOTOS: FACEBOOK/SG ROAD VIGILANTE, LIANHE ZAOBAO

Some vehicles stuck in murky water; flood subsided within 10 minutes, says PUB

A flash flood caused by heavy rain surfaced along a stretch of Singapore's shopping strip Orchard Road yesterday, leaving some vehicles in murky water that came up to mid-tyre level.

In a tweet at 3.45pm, water agency PUB said both lanes of Kramat Lane near Concorde Hotel were flooded and advised people to avoid the area. Photos posted by readers showed that Cavenagh Road adjacent to Orchard Plaza was also flooded.

In a statement last night, PUB said the flood subsided within 10 minutes, adding that the nearby Kramat Road has a "local depression", and that it would assess the need and feasibility of raising the road.

The agency also said it expects the coming completion of the Stamford Detention Tank and Stamford Diversion Canal to improve the situation at Kramat Road.

These are two major projects being built to protect Orchard Road, which was hit by a series of flash floods between 2010 and 2012.

The diversion canal will relieve Stamford Canal of a portion of water, while the detention tank will hold water temporarily so less water flows into Stamford Canal during heavy rain.

PUB said both projects are slated to be completed by the third quarter this year.

It said in December last year that it would spend $500 million over the next two or three years to upgrade existing drains as a safeguard against floods.

This was on top of the $1.2 billion it had already spent on drain improvement works since 2011.

Shopkeepers and workers in the Kramat Lane area said they are used to seeing flash floods over the years and were relieved that the latest one subsided quickly.

Mr Steven Loo, 57, the owner of a retail store at Orchard Plaza, told The Sunday Times that he saw a car being towed away and that many cars were making a U-turn to avoid the flash flood.

But the man who has worked in the area for 24 years said the situation has improved in recent years, with flash floods becoming less frequent.

He added that the last time he saw a flash flood there was about three years ago.

In its update last night, PUB said the second half of the month was expected to be wetter than the first half. It added that flash floods may still occur when there is intense rain and said it would provide flash flood warning and alerts through timely situation updates.

"We urge the public to exercise caution and avoid stepping into or driving into flooded areas," it said, adding that members of the public can stay tuned to radio broadcast and check PUB's Facebook www.facebook.com/PUBSg or PUB's mobile app "MyWaters" for flood updates.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 27, 2018, with the headline 'Flash flood in Orchard Road'. Print Edition | Subscribe