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Storms ebb, water levels recede as work to repair damage begins on Sunday

SINGAPORE – After two consecutive days of downpours that triggered landslips and flooding around the island, the rain finally began to ease on Sunday (Jan 3), with silvers of blue sky and streaks of sunshine emerging in some spots for the first time in 2021.

The mercury inched up and water levels receded at flooded areas, though the weather remained cool and windy with an average temperature of 24 deg C at Changi climate station as at 5pm. The lowest daily minimum temperature was 22.3 deg C in Jurong West on Sunday (Jan 3), up from 21.1 deg C recorded in Newton on Saturday.

Works to repair the damage inflicted kicked off, with areas in Havelock, Fort Canning and Loyang cordoned off as repairs were done.

At Fort Canning Park, heavy storms sent a 22m tall tree on the slope of Fort Canning Hill crashing down on Saturday morning, with some of its branches landing on the sheltered outdoor escalators that connected Fort Canning MRT station to the hill’s peak.

Mr Ryan Lee, Group Director of Fort Canning Park and Istana at the National Parks Board, said that the heritage tree – a Ficus kurzii or Burmese banyan – had uprooted as a result of soil failure due to the consecutive days of heavy rain.

There were no visitors in the vicinity at that time, but the fallen tree damaged a section of the escalators, which have been closed till further notice.

A video circulated on social media also showed a landslip taking place in Pasir Ris.

The impact of the landslip, which took place beside the slip road of Tampines Expressway heading towards Loyang Avenue on Saturday, caused seven drain railings by a monsoon drain to give way.

“Based on our preliminary investigations, the stability of the slip road is currently not affected,” said the Land Transport Authority (LTA) in a Facebook post yesterday (Jan 3). The slip road has been closed since Saturday night as a precautionary measure, to facilitate repair works on the slope.

Heavy rain also led to a landslip on a slope that connected Outram Secondary School to the Furama Riverfront Hotel on Saturday, located near Jalan Minyak and York Hill.

The Singapore Land Authority (SLA) said its professional engineer has assessed that the slope is stable, and its contractor has cordoned off the area and covered the slope with canvas sheets to prevent more soil from slipping in the interim before repair works are carried out.

There were also minor landslips at Kusu Island, Lazarus Island and St John’s Island on Saturday. “For public safety, the affected areas have been cordoned off until further notice. The professional engineer will assess and recommend the appropriate repair works,” said the SLA, which advised the public to stay away from such sites when the weather is bad.

The highest daily total rainfall recorded was 6.6mm at Simei and East Coast Parkway as at 5pm on Sunday (Jan 3), a sharp dip from the 210.6mm recorded at Changi climate station on Saturday.

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At D’Best Fishing Pond in Pasir Ris Town Park, which was flooded on Saturday, water levels began receding.

But Mr Peter Lew, the managing director of Singapore’s only commercial saltwater fishing pond said the flood had damaged cables and diluted the salinity of the pond, which could kill the fish.

“Some are already floating on the surface, which means they are dying…I’ve also lost money as many customers have called off their fishing plans due to the weather conditions,” said Mr Lew.

For the next few days, thundery showers are expected in the afternoon, and the temperature is forecast to range between 24 deg C and 33 deg C, said the Meteorological Service Singapore on Sunday (Jan 3).

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