FALLING trees and flooded roads. Rain-logged basement carparks and shops awash - literally - in flood waters.
The result? One dead, scores of cars damaged and much property destroyed.
What's a victim of the recent spell of stormy weather to do?
Some, such as the family of projects manager Chua Loong Wai, 32, who was crushed to death by a falling tree that landed on his moving car on Tuesday afternoon, are said to be considering legal action.
Mr Chua's brother told The Straits Times that the family is seeking compensation from the National Parks Board (NParks), which maintains Singapore's green spaces including roadside trees.
But while the Chuas - and other victims or their relatives - can sue NParks, they are unlikely to succeed, lawyers told The New Paper.
That's because such accidents are considered acts of God - natural occurrences that cannot be predicted and stopped, lawyer Shashi Nathan said.
These include tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and floods.
"Things happen in nature and people lose their homes and their lives. It's not something that can be prevented,"Mr Nathan said.
But if negligence - on the part of the authorities - is shown to be the cause, they can be found liable.
To prove that, evidence such as how the trees were looked after, whether the trees were being monitored and to what extent, must be produced, he said.
"For example, if someone had been complaining to the authorities about the trees in the area, that the trees were shaky or that there was soil erosion, but the authorities didn't do anything about it, then maybe (there's a higher chance of success)," he said.
Lawyer Looi Teck Kheong, who specialises in civil litigation, agreed.
"They have to show that there was failure (on the part of NParks) to take the necessary action to prevent all this from happening," he said.
But if NParks is found "to have taken all reasonable precautions and the tree still fell", it would be difficult to show that it should be held responsible for the accident.
The same goes for the spate of floods that hit our island recently, the lawyers said.
Think twice before suing
Individuals and businesses affected by the floods who want to sue the relevant authorities such as national water agency PUB, should think twice.
Again, negligence has to be proven.
"If they (PUB) did what they needed to do and the floods still occurred, what can they do? All of us have to face the possibility that everything that can be done has been done," said Mr Satwant Singh, a lawyer with 13 years of experience in criminal and civil matters.
Mr Looi added: "Floods are not caused by the Government, but if somebody runs the argument that the reason why there is flooding is because the existing canals could not cope and the Government knew it but didn't do anything about it, then (there maybe a case)."
But proving negligence can be a lengthy and costly exercise for the claimants, whether they take legal action as individuals or as a group.
That's because they must be prepared to go the distance - and pour in the necessary resources - to show the link between the floods and a breach of duty by the PUB.
For instance, experts must be hired to review the entire canal system and public infrastructure.
"They need to get weather experts to quantify rainfall over the years, show how it has increased and how this increase has been tackled by the existing infrastructure such as the canals and drainage system," he said.
"While the volume increased, what did the public bodies do to address the increase? Did it come to a stage where it was clear to them that (the system) could not accommodate existing weather challenges, but they did nothing?"
So, is increasing talk of liability for these weather-related events a sign of us becoming a more litigious society?
Yes, the lawyers said.
"As society becomes more affluent and educated, people know their rights and they become more litigious," said Mr Singh.
He has noticed a gradual increase based on the cases he has handled in the past five years.
"For example, in defamation cases, just because someone made a small comment,they say I want to sue that person," he said.
The move towards a more litigious society is also because of a growing population, said Mr Looi.
"You would expect more friction (with a bigger population)," he said. "And, when things don't go right, where else do you look to for compensation but the judicial system?"
But the bottom line - at least in the case of weather- related accidents - is that countries cannot escape the effects of climate change.
And we may increasingly be buffeted by more extreme weather conditions,Mr Nathan said.
"We complain now that it's happening in Singapore, but this has been happening elsewhere in the world for hundreds of years," he said.
This article was first published in The New Paper.