They say that November (or December depending on who you ask) is statistically the rainiest month in Singapore. I haven’t been through a November in Singapore… yet. But, I think I can say that rainy season has begun.
While it had not been uncommon to have rainy days, it also wasn’t uncommon to have rainless days. Now, we are surprised if it doesn’t rain during the day. Each day that passes is more of a question of when it will rain rather than if. We can [near] practically count on it raining somewhere in the afternoon. The showers are more scattered (meaning it might be pouring at my work and dry at Andrew’s work about 3 km away!) But the rain seems to be more reliable (it seems like we can count on it raining somewhere between 12 and 5pm where as it used to rain any time during the day or night).
I would say that Singapore is more well equipped than other places I have lived (okay the list isn’t long…) to handle the frequent, near constant, showers. There is relatively good drainage such that sidewalks and roads don’t get that flooded. More people regularly travel with an umbrella (it helps that it is ambidextrously used as artificial shade in the sunny weather). Stores/malls almost always have special bags for umbrellas out when it’s raining. Designers/builders are conscious enough of the rainy weather to do things like put ridges into sloped walkways and paint exposed walkways with slip-resistant paint – all in an effort to decrease accidents. There are much more covered walkways such that I can walk the 3 minutes from my home to the bus-stop without getting wet.
Yet some places are not that well prepared and some places regardless of the preparations are still impacted by the rain. Yesterday held some examples of how the rain inconveniences us.
First – knowing how likely it was to rain (or rather “guessing” at the likelihood)… Andrew decided not to ride his bike to work. He is less often able to ride his bike due to the unpredictable weather. Even though it may not be raining when he heads to work in the morning, often rain is forecasted for the evening. And some times when it is forecasted, it never happens – making the decision not to ride the bike all the more frustrating and difficult.
Second – Although I bring my small umbrella with me regularly. There are times where the downpour is so great that it just simply isn’t worth walking in the rain unless there are covered walkways. The walk between the bus-stop and my work is one example of an un-covered walkway. Yesterday as I was hoping to leave work it started to rain hard. One of those heavy rains that you knew you couldn’t escape getting wet even armed with an umbrella. The heavy rain turned into a turrential downpour. It even got to the point on the radar that I had been stalking online that it showed purple near my location. Purple was one shade darker than red. And red was higher than the orange. Orange represented “heavy” on the color legend associated with the radar. I don’t think we had seen purple before when watching the radar. You couldn’t get further on the colored scale. Point – it was pouring. Second point – I wasn’t particularly interested in getting soaked.
I waited for over an hour for the rain to let up. Finally, the radar indicated light green/yellow. Interpretation – it was between moderate and light, and I could probably make it to the bus-stop without getting soaked. I left and was able to make it home without getting more than my feet and the bottom of my capris wet. Exit buddy was soaked though.
Third – While most areas do a good job of directing the rain, some roofs leave something to be desired. You must be careful when approaching a roof as typically the edge gives off more rain than the outside rain itself.
There is good news though!
Good news 1: Cooler.
It is much cooler than the “non-rainy season.” Without the sun out as much, it is substantially cooler. By “cooler” I mean to say that we more often feel temps in the lower 80s and less often in the high 80s and low 90s. It may not seem like a lot, but having slightly cooler temperatures with less sustained sunniness makes for a much more peasant experience than constantly hot, humid, sunny weather in the 90s!
Good news 2: Rainy weather means soup weather.
With the year-round heat of Singapore, I was doubting whether I would ever be in the mood in Singapore to have/make soup. Yesterday, I finally was able to say I was in the mood for soup. I splurged the $1.50 on a can of condensed tomato soup. (I splurged more on the block of cheddar cheese I bought for the grilled cheese…)
Oh, how glorious it was to be eating the warm (okay it was hot, and I slightly burnt my tongue), creamy, tomato soup accompanied with a grilled sandwhich oozing with cheesy goodness. I am so glad I have a wealth of memories of growing up with this exactly meal on rainy days. Thank you Mom for the memories!
So you see, it’s not all bad when it rains.
Oh, before I forget. Have you heard of animals having a 6th sense about weather and natural phenomena? Well, I wonder if animals around here are better at predicting weather than the local meteorologists.
You see before I had even gotten to the bus-stop right near our apartment I had spotted a large cockroach on a mission to get somewhere quickly, a lizard probably a foot long, and a larger-than-normal flock of pidgeons. Not that any one of these animals was unheard of – but to see them all within a minute of each other, now that was what was unusual. And what I didn’t see was the stray cats that are normally around. Perhaps they had already found cover for the rain that was coming later that day.
And later in the afternoon I saw another unusual sight. I saw a cat walk into an alcove where an elevator was. When I closed the gap between the cat and myself I could find no trace of the cat, but I did find an elevator that was traveling up to a higher floor. Perhaps the cat was searching for higher/dryer ground? Anyways, it was still weird. And perhaps it was an indicator of the less than dry weather.