Thursday, 29 April 2010

another thundery day!!!

 only those of us here in Singapore know what it is like to live through one of these incredible thunderstorms!

Living in Australia we have experienced many and as a young child I actually saw someone killed by lightning at my school ... but believe me, nothing comes close to some of the storms we experience here in Singapore.

Absolutely nothing.

Sometimes they are so loud the buildings shake and in March 2009 we experienced one of the worst storms here. 200 trees destroyed in 15 minutes at the Jurong Country Club - just 10 mins from us.

Strong winds of up to 90kmh had ripped through the club in the middle of an inter-club Singapore Golf Association tournament which involved about 80 golfers.

Mr Ross Tan, 53, who was part of the green committee which decided to call off the competition, said: 'We were all huddled in the halfway houses and the wind was horrendous. The wind was so strong that rain was coming in sideways like bullets shooting at you. It was frightening.'

The decision was made to abandon the tournament because the many tall trees that were there to protect certain holes were gone and this would have affected the degree of difficulty of the golf course, he added.

Right before the Sumatra squall, the club's lightning meter registered a reading of '35', a very high number considering that, at a reading of 'two', the greens are cleared of people to prevent lightning from striking anyone, said Mr Mike Chng, the club's golfing supervisor.

He said: 'At around 3.45pm, there was a lot of lightning, so we suspended the course and got everyone to take shelter. Fifteen minutes later, the sky was very dark and suddenly, there was a very, very, strong wind.

'It was like a scene from the movie, The Ten Commandments, where the winds parted the Red Sea.'

Then 15 minutes later, the lightning meter went back down to 'zero' and the golfers were prepared to go back to their game as the sky had cleared.

That was when they saw the destruction that had taken place.

'It was like a typhoon had come through, all the paths were blocked, we couldn't use the buggies and the golfers had to walk back.

Some trees simply snapped at their base because of the wind. Others were uprooted with metres of roots exposed.

'A heavy rain warning was issued at 2.51pm for heavy showers with thunder to affect many areas of Singapore between 3.15pm and 4.45pm. The mid-afternoon showers with thunder, which is common during this period, was due to a convergence of winds and strong convection over our area.'

John and I were standing on our balcony watching the storm and saw lightning strike between our condo and the HDB units across the roadway .... the noise was unbelievable.

Just one month earlier (April 2009) wind speeds of up to 83 kilometres per hour was recorded - the strongest in nearly nine years. Among the damage caused were fallen trees and a broken construction crane.The NEA said the strong winds were caused by a Sumatra squall, named as such because the storm usually develops overnight in Sumatra and the Strait of Malacca, before sweeping into Singapore between midnight and daybreak.

THE Merlion statue, which was slightly damaged in a lightning strike last year, is only one of many structures hit by the frequent lightning storms that zap across Singapore each year.

The country has one of the highest rates of lightning activity in the world as its hot tropical weather is ideal for the formation of storm clouds.

Most lightning dissolves harmlessly into the ground. But if a building is struck, residents can find their power and telecommunications disrupted by the massive surge in electrical current.

An average lightning strike carries a current of up to 200,000 amps. In comparison, a 100-watt bulb carries a current of about 0.4 amp.

 I have blogged about Singapore Storms before, this one is about the storms and how the boys cope - or not cope!!

 and I look back on my blog post of March 7 2007, exactly one month after we arrived here and my thoughts on the storms. So funny to read that now!

 a FB friend posted the following yesterday:

For those wondering why there seems to be more thunderstorms now in Singapore than in monsoon season (now is in fact the most active time for thunderstorms) then this should be an interesting read and a good indicator of conditions in whole SE Asian region for when planning your holidays.

Weather article here

and after reading some of the article I came to the conclusion that I was having difficulty in understanding the difference between RAIN and SHOWERS :

"Meteorologists often make a distinction between 'showers' which come from clouds of large vertical extent and 'rain' which comes from clouds in layers. Thunder and lightning are not likely to be associated with 'rain'. However, many time sin Singapore, the distinction is not always clear because both tall and layered clouds are present simultaneously".

so what did we just have an hour ago??



or both?

yes, indeed Singapore has "one of the highest rates of lightning activity in the world".

The monthly distribution of the number of thunder days in Singapore shows a peak in April/May and November, with an average of 20 thunder days and a low of 4 to 6 days in the months of January and February respectively.

Between 1982 and last year, the National Environment Agency's Meteorological Services Division detected lightning on an average of 186 days per year.

And lightning hits each square kilometre of land 12 to 20 times each year.

Because of this, lightning rods on buildings have been mandatory since 1979, as they help intercept lightning bolts.

This is why it is important to keep an eye on the weather during shore / beach trips. To pack up and leave or take shelter BEFORE lightning starts to discharge. Not all shelters will protect you in lightning. Only those armed with lightning protection (fortunately, this is the case for most public shelters in our parks).

But the place where lightning occurs most often is near the small village of Kifuka in the mountains of eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, where the elevation is around 975 metres (3,200 ft). On average this region receives 158 lightning strikes per square kilometre (approx. 0.4 square mile) a year.

right now, we have enough here in Singapore to deal with!!

and being the INTER MONSOON SEASON we can expect to have them every day for another few weeks yet!!

(all of the above images were taken from our balcony in Bukit Batok)

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