SINGAPORE - The flash floods that occurred in nine locations in eastern Singapore on Monday morning (Jan 8) were due to intense rainfall, with some of the locations known to be hot spots or subject to tidal influence, water agency PUB said in a statement.
Widespread rain fell over Singapore this morning, with the heaviest rainfall of 118.8mm recorded at the Kim Chuan Road rain gauge between 6.20am and 10.25am. This is is about half of Singapore’s average monthly rainfall in January.
Rainfall at the Kim Chuan Road area peaked between 8am and 8.30am, with an intensity of 56mm per hour.
The first flash flood occurred at 8.30am and all the floods subsided by 10.30am.
PUB said the flash floods lasted 15 minutes to an hour, and were reported in nine locations: Tampines Avenue 12, Upper Changi Road/Bedok North Avenue 4, Bedok Road/Upper Changi Road East, Arumugam Road, Sims Avenue/Eunos Road 8, Sims Avenue/Tanjong Katong Road, Jalan Nipah, Bedok Road/New Upper Changi Road and Tampines Road.
Water levels in several waterways, such as Sungei Tongkang, Sungei Kallang and Bedok Canal were close to being full, with the PUB issuing “high flood risk” alerts for them.
In its statement, PUB said the wet weather conditions, due to the prevailing north-east monsoon, was aggravated by the development of a Sumatra squall over the Straits of Malacca which moved eastwards, affecting Singapore.
PUB officers were deployed immediately to the nine areas to investigate and render assistance. The water agency said there are already ongoing drainage improvement works to improve flood protection for the nine locations, and it is carrying out further investigations at Tampines Avenue 12.
Meanwhile, traffic accidents were also reported on the Pan-Island Expressway, Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway, Tampines Expressway, and Dunearn Road, according to the Land Transport Authority’s Traffic News Twitter feed.
Videos and photos sent in by Straits Times readers showed people wading in water that reached near knee-high levels near Upper Changi Road and a car stuck in flood water outside Paya Lebar MRT station. A woman was also seen pushing her stalled car at Bedok North.
Mr Mohammad Firdaus, 33, said the junction of Upper Changi Road and Changi South Lane was flooded with water that reached knee levels. While big lorries and buses could move through the water, “one of the cars looked to be stuck in the water”.
The delivery driver, who has been working at a warehouse nearby for the past nine months, said: “This is the first time I’ve seen such bad flooding.”
Another unlucky driver was Mr Ricky Ng, 50, whose car stalled in the flash flood in Bedok North Avenue 4 at 8.45am.
“The engine just died and the SCDF (Singapore Civil Defence Force) had to push it – along with eight to 10 other vehicles – to higher ground near the fire station,” said the head of an IT company.
Mr Ng said he was waiting for his motor workshop to assess the damages, before deciding what to do. As he had purchased a comprehensive motor insurance policy, damages due to the flood would be covered, he added.
Elsewhere, a multi-storey carpark at Block 613A, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4, was hit too by the heavy downpour, according to Mr Gary Haris, a senior business development manager.
The 43-year-old told The Straits Times that he saw water of ankle-high levels rushing down the stairwells. “I had to roll up my pants, take off my shoes and walk barefooted,” he added.
PUB urged the public to exercise caution and avoid stepping into or driving into flooded areas.
It advised the public to stay tuned to radio broadcasts and to check PUB's social media channels or its mobile app MyWaters for flood updates during this monsoon season.
According to the Meteorological Service Singapore's forecast, rainy weather is expected in the first half of January, with rainfall expected to be above normal levels.
There were floods on 14 days last year (2017), compared with 10 in 2016, and six in 2015. The figure has, however, dropped from 36 in 2013.
In November last year (2017), heavy rain caused flash floods in Hougang that subsided after about 15 minutes. Flash floods also happened at Tampines Road, and the junction of Cuscaden and Tomlinson roads in July last year.