Are we making floods out of puddles?

After spending several hours out and about today despite the rain and thunder, I was surprised on signing on at home to see a circular eml from London with the heading “Singapore flooded again”, followed by an attempt-at-wit comment:

“Aiyoh, Singapore flooded again! This time in the CBD district and Little India.!
Aiyah,must pack my swimming costume and swim my way round Stinkgapore this time! haha (Long kang very smeelyl lah!!)”

I wondered what my relative was on about till I clicked on ST Online and was greeted with the story and pictures under the heading:

U call dis a flood?

Sep 8, 2010

Floods hit CBD, Little India

By Bryan Huang

HEAVY rainfall on Wednesday morning again caused flooding in Singapore, this time striking the Central Business District and low-lying areas in Little India.

Floodwaters rose to 300 mm along the flood-prone Veerasamy Road, and 150 mm in Rowell Road and Hindu Road, a PUB official told the on Wednesday afternoon.

Over in the CBD, Boon Tat Road, off Shenton Way was flooded at around 10.30 am but the waters subsided within 15 to 20 minutes.

Flooding was also reported in Jalan Besar and parts of Chinatown.

A reader told The Straits Times online citizen site Stomp he could not believe his eyes when he saw the rising water outside the SGX Centre at Shenton Way.

The National Environment Agency has warned of heavy rain on Wednesday, with heavy showers and thunder expected between 10.15am and midday.

‘The public is advised to exercise caution and look out for flash floods,’ the NEA said earlier on its website.

All this hoo-hah causes me to wonder whether we are falling into the habit of creating floods out of large puddles and temporary overflows?

I went to Mandarin Hotel in Orchard Road for moon cakes followed by lunch at Mandarin Gallery. The downpour was heavy, the traffic moderate but no stalled car or even large puddles.

After lunch, I went to Upper Serangoon, via the CTE. Traffic and downpour were heavy. Again, nothing stalled, nothing stranded, nothing was flooded.

I made my way home in late afternoon, driving thru the whole stretch of from Upper Serangoon to Serangoon Road down to Kitchener Road be4 rejoining the CTE.

The rain had morphed into a light drizzle.

Sure, I wasn’t in Little India or the CBD during the morning hours.

But people who are now pointing fingers at the Marina Barage and all the new builts that have sprung up around the bay seem to forget that today is the first day of the eighth moon in the Chinese lunar calendar. That means a “new moon” day and if combined with high tide, would lead to flooding on a rainy day.

I worked for 9 years in an office in OCBC Centre and had been caught in flash floods on several rainy days at lunch time around Cecil Street, Upper Pickering Street, Upper Cross Street and somewhere near Lau Pa Sat. Or I would look out of my 49th floor office and seeing the rising Singapore River decided to stay in for lunch rather than brave roads swirling in water.

But the media didn’t seem overly interested in these localised “overflows” in those old days. Perhaps back then people looked on passing hardships to be accepted or shrugged off as an “act of god” whereas today we look for accountability every which way.

That’s fine but try not to make every big puddle into a tsunami!


3 thoughts on “Are we making floods out of puddles?

  1. It’s not really a flood. Just ponding, to be exact. Anyway, from the picture I did notice the vehicles are avoiding the sides of the road. A colleague who came late for work told me that one of the sides was about 6 inches deep. On Google Earth, the elevation profile of Shenton Way showed it to be one great depression. Not surprising, since that area is technically the foot of a small knoll called ‘Telok Ayer’. 🙂

  2. Xizor, thanks! U r a mine of info. Wish u cld educate our MSM who have floods where their brains shld have been!

  3. Pingback:

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