System for flash flood warnings

System for flash flood warnings
A car stranded at Chai Chee Road.

A pilot flood forecasting system, one of the first to be installed in the tropics, will help with flood management this monsoon season.

Called the Local Area Weather Radar (LAWR), it has been installed at the CleanTech One building at Nanyang Avenue, near the Nanyang Technological University.

It has been used by the PUB, the national water agency, to monitor rainfall in the Marina Catchment area since April.

This technology may come in handy in providing flash flood warnings as the north-east monsoon season is almost upon us, said the Meteorological Services Singapore on Monday.

It usually lasts until March and could lead to localised flash floods in low-lying areas. The Meteorological Department said that rainfall for this monsoon season is expected to be slightly above average.

But PUB's chief executive Chew Men Leong noted that there are uncertainties about the forecasting system as Singapore experiences convective thunderstorms which come and go quickly.

"If we can achieve an early warning in terms of five, 10, 15 minutes, I think we would have already achieved some success," he said.

Just on Monday, heavy rains led to flash floods along Chai Chee Road, causing some vehicles to stall.

The LAWR had previously been used in countries such as El Salvador and Bolivia.

The PUB also announced new drainage improvement projects in 36 locations, in addition to the current projects at 176 locations around Singapore.

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