adverse weather policy

What is Singapore's weather like? 

Singapore is situated near the equator and has a typically tropical climate, with abundant rainfall, high and uniform temperatures, and high humidity all year round. Many of its climate variables, such as temperature and relative humidity, do not show large month-to-month variation.  However, many variables exhibit prominent daily variations from hour to hour, indicating the strong influence that solar heating has on the local climate.

SEASONS

Singapore’s climate is characterised by two monsoon seasons separated by inter-monsoonal periods (see table below).  The Northeast Monsoon occurs from December to early March, and the Southwest Monsoon from June to September. The major weather systems affecting Singapore that can lead to heavy rainfall are:

  • Monsoon surges, or strong wind episodes in the Northeast Monsoon flow bringing about major rainfall events;

  • Sumatra squalls, an organised line of thunderstorms travelling eastward across Singapore, having developed over the island of Sumatra or Straits of Malacca west of us;

  • Afternoon and evening thunderstorms caused by strong surface heating and by the sea breeze circulation that develops in the afternoon.

The occurrence of these events at different times of year is outlined in the following table.  

 
RAINFALL

Rainfall is plentiful in Singapore and it rains an average of 167 days of the year. Much of the rain is heavy and accompanied by thunder. The 1981-2010 long-term mean annual rainfall total is 2165.9mm. 

RAINFALL DISTRIBUTION

Rainfall isn't equally distributed across Singapore but varies by place and time of day and month to month.  There is a spike in heavy rainfall in November to December, in afternoons, in northern and western Singapore which will largely affect our afternoon sessions in Bukit Batok Nature Park, Hindhede Nature Park and to a lesser extent Singapore Botanic Gardens. Sessions held in the East will be less affected by heavy rainfall and thunderstorms. 

The table below provides a good overview of all of the factors at play which will influence our Forest School sessions and these are all things that your Forest School Leader will be taking into consideration when planning and running your session. 

Adverse Weather Policy
 

The climate and weather plays an essential part in the Forest School experience. Participants gain an understanding of the world and how it operates through experiencing the weather and climate first hand. The weather effects almost everything that we do, from the clothes that we wear, the way that we design our homes and to the locations we choose for holidays. The Singapore climate and day to day weather fundamentally effect the way that we manage and deliver our Forest School programmes, however, wet weather is not a reason to cancel a Forest School session. 

 

The Singapore climate affects:

  • Where we choose to hold our Forest School sessions, with some parts of Singapore less favourable at certain times of year than others. 

  • When we hold our Forest School sessions, with morning sessions less likely to suffer from adverse weather than afternoon sessions. 

  • Our ability to operate outdoors mid-day, from 12.30-3pm. This is not usually possible in the tropical environment, unless a particularly shady and breezy site is available. 

The tropical Singapore weather affects:

  • Where we make our camp, in / outside of shelters for example and how far from the exit we travel

  • The gear that we bring. We must all bring wet weather clothing and a change of clothing. Leaders must bring a groundsheet, tarp, ropes and pegs. 

  • The types of experiences that we will plan for a session, and the changing weather promotes opportunities for 'in the moment planning' to make the most of the weather conditions at any time. 

  • The clothing that we must wear in order to be comfortable in the outdoors.

  • The likelihood of mosquito and ant bites - they are more prolific after wet weather.

  • The level of risk posed by a potential hazard, such as a long steep slope or flight of stairs. 

Given these effects, we will:

  • Ensure that term 2 and term 4 afternoon locations have plenty of exit points and safe shelters from lightning. 

  • Monitor adverse weather warnings from the NEA via the mobile App. 

  • Prefer locations for afternoon sessions which are centrally, southern or easterly located and have substantial shelters or indoor options available, such as the Singapore Botanic Gardens, East Coast Park and Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park. 

  • Regularly check the real-time weather situation at www.weather.gov.sg before and during our sessions. 

  • We recommend appropriate clothing in our Handbook. 

  • Help the children to make decisions on where to go each session taking the predicted or actual weather into the decision making process. 

  • Cross-check against our gear packing list before every session to ensure that we are suitably prepared for adverse weather. 

  • Research and develop experiences based upon the weather and the learning opportunities that it provides.

  • Weather-check all of our risk assessments to review hazards in the light of different weather conditions.

  • Link our communications plan to our adverse weather procedure below. 

Adverse Weather Procedure
 
​BEFORE YOUR SESSION BEGINS
  • 2 hours before a session is due to start your leader will check the 2-hr Nowcast at https://www.nea.gov.sg/weather and make adjust plans for your session as necessary​

  • One hour before your session your Leader will check the current rain areas at www.weather.gov.sg. If the session is likely to be wet a reminder will be sent to all participants via a WhatsApp broadcast message to bring wet weather clothing. Please ensure that you have your Leader's contact details added to your phone contacts so that you can receive WhatsApp broadcast messages. 

  • An amended meeting point may be chosen closer to a shelter. 

  • Your Leader will also use the NEA Lightning information service available here: http://www.weather.gov.sg/lightning/lightning/lightningalertinformationsystem.jsp to check for a current lightning warning or active lightning in your session location. 

  • If the session location is currently experiencing heavy rainfall and lightning warnings have been issued your Leader will delay the start of your session by 30 minutes and alert you via WhatsApp. 

  • After another 30 minutes, if the weather situation has not improved your Leader will cancel the session and you will be able to make-up for the missed session at another time before the end of term by attending one of the other scheduled Wildlings groups. 

IF YOUR SESSION IS UNDERWAY AND ADVERSE WEATHER STRIKES

There are plenty of early warning signs that adverse weather may be approaching, however. it can also strike out of the blue and it is not always easy to see it coming when surrounded by large trees which reduce long-range visibility. Also, the signs of adverse weather can often be on the horizon, but it may never materialise in your area.

  • If your session has started and it looks, sounds or feels like the weather will worsen, your Leader, or a parent volunteer, will be asked to check for weather warnings, either areas of heavy rain approaching shown clearly at www.weather.sg or for potential lightning warnings at http://www.weather.gov.sg/lightning/lightning/lightningalertinformationsystem.jsp

  • For adult accompanied sessions your Leader will issue you with advice depending on the availability of shelters, the speed of weather deterioration, and the nearness of site exit points. 

  • For drop-off sessions the Leader and staff will take the children to the nearest safe shelter and wait out the heavy rain or thunderstorm under-cover. Parents will be notified via WhatsApp or a phone call of any changes in pick-up times if the weather will cause a delay to the planned end of a session. Thunderstorms usually last less than 30 minutes but advice is to remain under cover for up to 30 minutes longer to be sure of safety. 

DATE: 18th October 2019

AUTHOR: Claire Seabrook

VERSION: 1.1

REVIEW DATE: 18th October 2020

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