He saw the dark clouds loom above the shop on Sunday afternoon and sensed that a downpour was imminent.
Mr Low Eng How, 68, who works at a bird shop in Bedok Reservoir, knew it was time for him to move the cages further into the store.
He also had to lower the awnings so that the birds would be shielded from the rain.
He was right. The rain came - and more. It was a storm. And it was so powerful that it caught him completely off guard.
Mr Low told The New Paper yesterday: "The wind was just too strong. My friend and I had to hold the awnings down for a good 10 minutes just to keep the rain out.
"We also saw that chairs from the neighbouring shops were blown away."
Mr Low, who has been working at the shop for 20 years, said that although the area is prone to occasional storms, the one on Sunday was easily the worst he has experienced.
"It wasn't like anything I've seen in Singapore," he said.
"It felt more like something you'd see on the news when they report about disaster events in Taiwan or Japan."
Assistant supervisor Lau Ngie Kiang, 35, who works at a supermarket at Block 739A, Bedok Reservoir Road, felt the same way.
He and his colleagues had to slip on their raincoats to push their wares away from the downpour.
But the rain was so heavy that even with their raincoats on, all of them were drenched by the time they completed the task.
Mr Lau said: "I was in Hainan, China, eight years ago and experienced a typhoon. This storm felt like that - it was that strong.
"I'm surprised at how powerful the storm was as it was not something you would expect to happen in Singapore, but I guess with the climate change, you never know."
He also said that the storm caused a tree to fall close to where he was working.
"Thankfully, no one was hurt," he said.
TNP went to the area yesterday and found that the 20 trees lining the reservoir had either been uprooted, or snapped at the trunks.
Some had landed on playgrounds and fitness corners.
Responding to queries from TNP, the Meteorological Service Singapore said that the maximum wind gust in Bedok on Sunday was about 20.2 metres per second.
Its spokesman said that the highest total daily rainfall recorded there that day was 44.8mm.
The National Environment Agency (NEA) had reportedly issued an advisory earlier on Sunday, warning that thunderstorms with gusty winds were expected over many areas of Singapore between 3.10pm and 4pm.
According to the NEA, the north-east monsoon season is from December to early March.
It said: "North-east winds prevail, reaching speeds of up to 20kmh. Spells of widespread moderate to heavy rain to occur, lasting from one to three days at a stretch."
The weather in Singapore is expected to be partly cloudy today and tomorrow. Thundery showers are expected on Thursday afternoon.
This article was first published on December 9, 2014.
Get The New Paper for more stories.