Windy conditions on day of Tembusu tree accident 'not unusual': Met Service

Windy conditions on day of Tembusu tree accident 'not unusual': Met Service

Data from the Meteorological Service Singapore showed that on Feb 11 at around the time the Tembusu tree toppled, the wind sensor at Paya Lebar station, which is closest to the Botanic Gardens, recorded wind gusts of 27.8km/h - lower that what was recorded earlier in the afternoon.

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SINGAPORE: It has been windy in Singapore the past week - something that is not unexpected as the National Environment Agency (NEA) had said in its latest advisory last Thursday (Feb 9) that there would be "windy conditions with widespread rain" on some days.

The weather conditions have prompted questions about whether they were a factor in toppling the large Tembusu tree at the Singapore Botanic Gardens last Saturday, which killed one person and injured four others. On Monday, a woman was sent to a hospital's intensive care unit after she was hit by a falling tree at Yuan Ching Road.

In response to queries, the Meteorological Service Singapore (MSS) said that on Feb 11 at about 4.30pm - around the time the Tembusu tree toppled - the wind sensor at Paya Lebar station, which is closest to the Botanic Gardens, recorded wind gusts of 27.8km/h.

That is lower than the 38.5km/h recorded earlier in the afternoon at about 2.20pm at the same weather station. These conditions are "not considered unusual", said MSS.

It added that strongest winds on Feb 11 were at East Coast Park, with the maximum wind gust at 58.3 km/h at around 5.30pm.

Experts told Channel NewsAsia on Tuesday (Feb 14) that the strong winds are normal at this time of the year.

According to the National University of Singapore's Assistant Professor of Geography Winston Chow, February is usually the windiest month of the year so breezy conditions are expected islandwide.

"The windy conditions are due to a monsoon surge of strong winds coming from the South China Sea that started Saturday morning and should last until tomorrow at least," he explained, adding that some places may be windier depending on microsite conditions such as the presence of buildings or slopes.

A similar assessment was given by atmospheric scientist Koh Tieh Yong, an associate professor at SIM University. "This is a typical seasonal weather pattern, evidenced within the same period in the previous years," he said. "The monsoon surge condition typically lasts for a few days up to two weeks. So occasional windy conditions can be expected during this period."

The cause of the Tembusu tree fall is still being investigated by the National Parks Board. The tree had been inspected last September and was given a clean bill of health.

Source: CNA/gs

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