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Singapore celebrates wettest Lunar New Year in at least a decade

Rabbit figurines displayed inside the Marina Bay Sands shopping mall in Singapore on January 17. (Photo: Rosland Rahman/AFP/Getty Images)
Rabbit figurines displayed inside the Marina Bay Sands shopping mall in Singapore on January 17. (Photo: Rosland Rahman/AFP/Getty Images)

By Kevin Varley

(Bloomberg) — Tourists visiting Singapore for the Lunar New Year have been greeted with wet weather and plunging temperatures that have locals scratching their heads as the city state records the most rainfall in at least a decade.

The culprit behind the heavy rains is a monsoon surge — a strengthening of winds over the South China Sea that causes extensive rainclouds to form over the city-state enveloping the surrounding region, according to the Meteorological Service Singapore (MSS).

The downpour, unfortunately for travellers, has coincided with the start of the Lunar New Year holidays. The rain was heaviest on the first day of the festive season on 22 Jan, when the rainfall reached a peak of 114.4 millimetres, compared with last year’s monthly average of 184 mm.

The spate of gloomy weather adds tropical Singapore to a list of destinations like New York and Tokyo, which are dealing with extreme weather albeit in wintry conditions. Temperatures on the island fell to 22.3˚ Celsius (72˚F) from the usual average of around 28˚ Celsius.

Singapore normally experiences two to four surge occurrences during each northeast monsoon season, with each event lasting one to five days. Expect more rain and cool weather as another surge is forecast to begin 28 Jan.

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.