More chill out as it's cool and windy in Singapore

Weather a boon for businesses, especially outdoor restaurants

A boy and his grandfather flying kites in Toa Payoh on Wednesday. The past week has seen wind gusts of up to 72kmh. -- ST PHOTO: MUGILAN RAJASEGERAN
A boy and his grandfather flying kites in Toa Payoh on Wednesday. The past week has seen wind gusts of up to 72kmh. -- ST PHOTO: MUGILAN RAJASEGERAN

If you think the mornings have been a bit chillier lately, you might be right.

In the past seven days, the lowest temperatures here have been up to two degrees lower than normal. Daily minimum temperatures this month have ranged from 23.5 to 21.1 deg C, markedly lower than the long-term January average of 23.3, based on Meteorological Service Singapore (MSS) data.

The wind has also been stronger, with gusts up to 72kmh - around twice the typical speed.

It has been drier too, with some areas reporting up to 85 per cent less rain than usual.

But the Republic has some way to go to beat its past records - the all-time low temperature of 19.4 deg C in January 1934 and the 91kmh gusts of November 2010.

An MSS spokesman said Singapore is experiencing the north- east monsoon season's "dry phase" earlier than usual, adding that it "typically occurs in late January and February".

Dr Koh Tieh Yong, a weather expert at Nanyang Technological University, said that a wind surge from the Asian continent into the South China Sea, a typical weather pattern of the north-east monsoon, has resulted in greater cloud formation than usual. Clouds cool by cutting direct sunlight.

Though the chill may not be as pronounced as in other parts of the world, it is making an impact on businesses here.

Gardens by the Bay's OCBC Skyway has seen more visitors, even at midday when it is normally hot, a spokesman said. It is shut temporarily when there is rain, lightning or winds over 45kmh.

Singapore Cable Car said its cars automatically slow down to half their speed when the cableway system detects winds above 10m per second, or 36kmh.

The weather has been a boon to outdoor bars and restaurants.

Mr Andrew Ing, chief operating officer of The Lo & Behold Group which runs Tanjong Beach Club on Sentosa and rooftop bar Loof, said: "With the recent combination of no rain and cool weather, we've had excellent patronage at both Tanjong Beach Club and Loof on Saturday and Sunday."

Mr Eugene Fung, 33, co-founder of Mad Men Attic Bar near Boat Quay, said: "The weather has been in our favour. People stay a bit longer because the atmosphere is very comfortable."

Strong winds have not been a concern for restaurant and club Ku De Ta atop Marina Bay Sands. It provides shawls for guests on request and weights its umbrellas.

Mrs Holly Kuzmiak-Ngiam, 31, an avid runner, said: "Usually I enjoy running in Singapore despite the weather, but this past week, the real joy in my runs has actually come from the weather."

But the colder weather has put a damper on some outdoor activities.

Swimming coach Michelle Verma, 27, who teaches children aged six months to nine years, finds that some are reluctant to take to the water. She tries to coax them in with games.

"We cut short the lessons and do more activities to keep them moving," she said.