Rainfall on Saturday among highest in Singapore in past 39 years

High water level in D’Best Fishing’s main pond on Jan 2, 2021. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
A high water level is seen at the Rochor Canal as viewed from Kelantan Road on Jan 2, 2021. ST PHOTO: SHINTARO TAY
High water level at Nanyang Technological University's Pioneer Hall on Jan 2, 2021. PHOTO: ST READER
A construction site along Cassia Link and Jalan Dua turns to mud as nearby drains are filled to the brim amid a heavy downpour on Jan 2, 2021. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
A flooded portion of the East Coast Park near Fort Road on Jan 2, 2021.
Traffic on the CTE on Jan 2, 2021. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
Fallen tree seen at Tanjong Pagar on Jan 2, 2021. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/ANDREA CAMAGNA
According to a weather advisory by the Meteorological Service Singapore, the first week of the year will likely be wet and windy. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR
According to a weather advisory by the Meteorological Service Singapore, the first week of the year will likely be wet and windy. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

SINGAPORE - Sweater weather continued for the second day of the new year in Singapore, with wet and windy conditions on Saturday (Jan 2).

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

It added later that while the rain was set to clear overnight, thundery showers are likely on Sunday 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 on Saturday on Facebook.

On Saturday, the heaviest rainfall of 210.6mm was also recorded in Changi between 12am and 7pm.

Earlier on Saturday, when the figure was 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 on Saturday, 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 (MSS), which predicted an average temperature of 23 deg C to 33 deg C over the first two weeks of January, 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. This is really the closest to autumn weather that one might get in Singapore, so I'm going to take the opportunity to throw on a sweater and go outside," Mr Law said.

High water level at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park at around 9.30am on Jan 2, 2021. PHOTO: ST READER
High water level at the Rochor Canal on Jan 2, 2021. ST PHOTO: SHINTARO TAY

Meanwhile, Ms Norashikin Imran, 42, said that she had noted raised water levels across Singapore, and was concerned about whether flash floods might happen if the rain persisted.

"It's nice to be able to wear jackets outside, but I hope the canals won't overflow and that property won't be damaged. That would not be a great start to the new year," she 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.

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Photos and videos circulated on social media of a collapsed tree on Loyang Road off Halton Road which blocked two lanes of traffic. PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS READER

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 on Saturday 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 on Saturday morning.

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 lead to 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.

ST reported that La Nina conditions were detected in Singapore last November. This means wetter conditions could become more prevalent not only this month, but also next month and March.

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According to a weather advisory by the weatherman, the first week of the year will likely 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.

"Typically, there are two or three surge occurrences during the season," it added.

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.

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