SINGAPORE - If you have been feeling hot and bothered by the weather, brace yourself for the dry streak to last for another two weeks at least.
The National Environment Agency (NEA) said in its latest forecast that the first half of this month is expected to have less rainfall than usual. This follows significantly low levels of rain in the previous two months.
The current dry weather is partly due to the early onset of the north-east monsoon's dry phase, which is characterised by drier weather and occasional wind.
While the dry phase typically starts in February, it began in mid-January this year, partly due to stronger winds in the region that caused the monsoon rain belt to shift away from Singapore.
The dry weather has resulted in parched grass patches by the roadside and receding water levels in lakes.
At the Botanic Gardens, the water level in the Eco Lake has fallen noticeably.
Many people, like Mr Bryan Lim, 23, are missing the rain.
"I long for the days when I'm not sweating even before I step out of the house," said Mr Lim, a part-time employee of an ice cream cafe.
But the heat has not deterred diners from eating outdoors. Six eateries contacted said their alfresco dining had not suffered.
In fact, at House @ Dempsey, manager Julian Siew said the dry weather had led to more diners choosing to sit outdoors.
"Because it doesn't rain, we can get about 40 more customers over the weekend who are willing to sit outside," said Mr Siew, 28.
Relief from the heat could come in the form of localised showers on four to six days in the next two weeks, said the NEA.
For this week, the agency is predicting short, thundery showers in the afternoon on two to three days. Still, the total rainfall for this month will be below the long-term average of 185mm if the trend of drier-than-usual weather persists.
But the situation is not as dire as in February last year, when just 0.2mm of rain was recorded at the Changi climate station, which is used as a reference station.
The NEA also said that the months of March to May have the highest average daily maximum temperatures of between 31.6 deg C and 31.8 deg C.
The dry weather has been much welcomed by ground surveyor Amir Nordin, 52, and his household of five because their laundry takes less time to dry.
"Usually, I hang the clothes at about 7am and take them in around 6pm, but for these few weeks, I've been able to take them in three hours earlier than usual because it's been hotter than normal," he said.
Additional reporting by Olivia Ho
This article was first published on Mar 2, 2015. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.