Singapore

Strong winds, waterspout send boats flying in East Coast Park

Downdrafts that can exceed 80kmh centred over East Coast yesterday while Yishun and Seletar residents report seeing hail on Tuesday

The recent severe weather continued for a second consecutive day with strong winds sending a dumpster and even boats flying in East Coast Park yesterday.

Heavy rain continued to blanket the island after hail hit several parts of the island on Tuesday, including Yishun.

Winds picked up at least three small boats at the National Sailing Centre (NSC) before sending them towards a person filming the incident.

An NSC spokesman told The Straits Times: "A strong gust of wind together with a waterspout came through NSC and left a trail of damage.

"It was fortunate that sailors were recalled... and waited under shelter when the siren was sounded earlier."

Assistant Professor Winston Chow, a weather researcher from the National University of Singapore, said what likely happened was that downdrafts - which can exceed 80kmh - were centred over East Coast.

The storm also uprooted a tree at Neptune Court condominium yesterday afternoon. It blocked traffic along Marine Parade Road towards Parkway Parade shopping centre, leaving only one lane in the opposite direction open until 9.30pm.

The strong winds follow thundery showers which pummelled many parts of Singapore on Tuesday afternoon.

The Meteorological Service Singapore (MSS) said the highest rainfall, at 46.6mm, was recorded between 4.55pm and 5.25pm at Sembawang.

That is 20 per cent of Singapore's mean monthly rainfall for last month falling in just 30 minutes, according to National Environment Agency figures.

ST understands that one person was injured at Yishun Avenue 5.

"Towering thunderstorm clouds form when there is very strong daytime heating of the land surface, coupled with wind convergence," said MSS.

"These clouds have powerful downdrafts that cause some hailstones to reach the ground quickly before melting."

Residents in Yishun and Seletar had reported seeing hailstones, the size of five-cent and 10-cent coins,on Tuesday.

Professor Benjamin Horton of Nanyang Technological University said the hail was caused by "upper atmospheric conditions of the previous few days, to weeks, that allowed this particular thunderstorm cloud to form hailstones".

The National Parks Board said there were more than 200 reported incidents of fallen trees and snapped branches during Tuesday's "extreme storm".

Most were cleared by 8pm that day.

Environment