SINGAPORE: The prolonged dry weather affecting Singapore since mid-January 2014 has set a new record for the driest month since 1869.
At the Changi climate station, the rainfall total recorded in February 2014 was 0.2mm, breaking the previous record low of 6.3 mm in February 2010.
During the month, there were only seven days of short showers that occurred between February 7 and 19, mainly in the western parts of Singapore.
The total rainfall across 64 rainfall stations ranged from 45 per cent to 100 per cent below the long-term average of 161.0mm for February -- about half of the stations, mostly in the southern and eastern areas, recorded monthly rainfall totals below 10.0mm.
Besides being the driest month ever, February was also the most windy month in the last 30 years.
An average daily wind speed of 13.3 km/h was recorded in February.
At the Changi climate station, the average daily wind speed of 13.3 km/h recorded in February exceeded the previous high of 12.5 km/h in January 1985.
The prolonged dry conditions have also set a new record for the lowest average daily relative humidity of 74.5 per cent. The previous record low for February and any month of the year was 76.9 per cent in February 1968, and 74.6 per cent in June 2013 respectively.
NEA said the last day of significant rainfall was on February 16, when between 0.2 and 29.0mm was recorded in various parts of the island.
Since then, there has been little or no rainfall, with Singapore entering another dry spell on February 17. This follows the 27-day long dry spell between January 13 and February 8, 2014.
The highest recorded rainfall total since February 17 was 19.2mm at Lim Chu Kang Road.
The brief showers in parts of western Singapore on Monday were not widespread enough to break the current dry spell.
The dry weather affecting Singapore and the surrounding region is expected to persist in the first half of March 2014. There may be localised showers in the afternoon on a few days, and rainfall is expected to be well below average.
Fair and warm conditions are forecast for Singapore. The prevailing northeasterly winds are also forecast to remain steady over this period.
NEA said with the expected onset of the Inter-Monsoon in the second half of March 2014, the winds in the region will turn light and variable in direction. Increased rainfall can be expected in the later part of the month.
With the dry weather expected to continue, national water agency PUB has started a public campaign to urge everyone to conserve water.
PUB has sent circulars to 25,000 non-domestic customers -- including the town councils, Management Corporation Strata Title (MCSTs), commercial and industrial buildings, government buildings and schools -- to advise them to make adjustments and embark on water-saving measures.
Measures like cutting down the washing of cars and irrigation of plants, as well as switching off water features and fountains will help reduce water usage.
The public is also advised to save water by taking showers under five minutes, washing clothes on a full load and reusing water for non-potable uses.
NEA said the amount of water saved will help stretch Singapore's limited water resources longer.
The NEA and PUB will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as necessary. - CNA/ac
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