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Rain or Shine in Singapore

Located just a few degrees off the equator, it comes as no surprise that Singapore's climate is warm, wet and humid.

Showers are plentiful year-round and the temperature is never far from the 30 degree centigrade mark, but it's the humidity, generally over 90%, that most people consider the greatest culprit when it comes to weather-related discomfort in Singapore. Surface winds tend to be light and don't provide any real relief. So it's important to dress accordingly and to always have a brolly at hand.

Having said that, January, February and March are blessed with wonderful, almost Mediterranean weather, clear blue skies, much lower humidity, hardly any rain and temperatures that are nearer 25 than 30 degrees. However, this much more comfortable weather only kicks in after a very wet December, the start of the Northeast monsoon, which can be gloomy and "cool" for days on end, with almost incessant rain.

It's a bit of an in-joke in Singapore that expats from countries renown for their inclement weather, such as the UK, can be seen wearing cardigans and sweaters this time of the year, even though it's still about 25 degrees! But December does at times feel a bit chilly.

The remaining months tend to vary little; mostly it's 30 degrees or more and there's always a chance of a downpour. During the Southwest monsoon, which runs from July to October, it occasionally rains and every now and then a "Sumatra Squall" passes over. These are quite severe tropical storms that can dump enormous amounts of rain in a matter of hours, at times leading to flash-floods in low-lying areas like Orchard Road.

One important thing to keep in mind is that air-cons in public buildings, offices, cinemas, classrooms, buses etc. are set to "high". On any given day, you'll find yourself walking from warm to cold back to warm repeatedly, and it's been said that these constant temperature extremes can bring on the common cold or a flu. So if you're going to catch a movie, bringing along your cardie, isn't such a bad idea after all.

Lastly, a word of warning to all beach-bums and sun-worshippers. The UV intensity is very high in Singapore. You can even get a nasty sunburn on an overcast day or sitting in the shade. Always use sunblock, preferably SPF30 or higher if you're going to be outdoors for a while. And reapply often.

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