The weather forecast for the Singapore Grand Prix could play a crucial role in determining the winner of the race.
Even in dry conditions the difference between a hot day and a cold one can determine whether Ferrari and McLaren come out on top. And rain at F1’s first night race will tax the preparedness of the organisers to the maximum.
Here’s a look at weather patterns in Singapore, early predictions for the Grand Prix weekend, and some links and webcams providing information about the local area.
Singapore weather in general
Singapore has two monsoon seasons per year. The Grand Prix coincides with the end of the second of those (the southwest monsoon season) which runs from June to September although, of course, the start and end dates are not exact.
The Singapore meterological office characterises the typical weather in the southwest monsoon season as follows:
Shower/thunderstorm activity occurs between predawn and midday. “Sumatra” squalls are common. Smoke haze is common during days of widespread dry weather. Occasional wind gusts of 12-22m/s. Intense thunderstorm activity lasts less than 30 minutes.
However it claims the chance of thunderstorms during the southwest is much higher in the morning:
During the southwest monsoon season, thunderstorm occurence is high between 0500hrs and 0600hrs.
In terms of temperature:
The diurnal temperature variation is small and is observed to reach highs of 31-33C during the day and lows of 23-25C during the night.
September has an average of 10.8 days of rain in Singapore and 14.9 days of thunder and lightning. The month as a whole is described as:
Generally hazy, with scattered showers/thunderstorms in the late morning and early afternoon. Sumatra-type early morning thunderstorms can still be experienced and during temporary and during temporary incursions of northwesterly winds, late afternoon and early evening showers or thunderstorms are likely.
Information obtained from the National Environment Agency’s Guide to Singapore Weather.
Weather forecasts for the Singapore Grand Prix
Singapore saw above-average rainfall in the first half of September according to the NEA. For the second half of the month it projects a chance of rain but notes that extended dry periods are not uncommon:
Weak Southwest Monsoon conditions will continue to prevail over Singapore and the surrounding region. [...] As periods of consecutive dry days are common in the region during the Southwest Monsoon Season, slightly hazy conditions can be expected on a few days.
This information relates to the country as a whole: we’re mainly interested in the site of the Grand Prix, which is in south-central Singapore:
Weather-watching resources for Singapore
Here are a few links I’ve found for keeping an eye on the Singapore weather.
- Singapore rain areas forecast (NEA) – basic animation showing rain projections for the next few hours (there’s a similar diagram here and you can integrate it with Google Earth and Google Maps as well)
- Singapore extended forecast (Intellicast) – 10-day forecast
- Singapore forecast (Weather Underground)
- Raffles Place webcam – This is the nearest webcam to the track I’ve found. More local webcams here.
- Rain and satellite map (Intellicast) – claims to show an animated forecast but doesn’t work for me
If you know of any other useful links please post them in the comments.
Singapore shares a border with Malaysia and some of its weather characteristics are very similar. Rain tends to be intense but brief, and the hot, humid atmosphere means surface water dries quickly.
What if it rains…during a night race?
‘Ambitious’ barely does justice to the goal of holding F1’s first ever night race in a climate that often sees very heavy rain.
The organisers claim their lighting system will make the venue three times brighter than at an illuminated football match. But if it rains, will drivers’ visibility be more badly impaired than during a wet race in day time?
It’s not a question I can answer but a friend of mine who lived in Singapore reckoned the authorities will have prepared for every eventuality:
They’ll have the same mentality as the Chinese government did about the Olympics. They’ll want to show the world they are a developed nation and can compete with the best, and will pull out all the stops to make it the most amazing thing ever. They’re very capable, and they won’t have left anything to chance.
I’d be especially interested to here what readers in Singapore make of that viewpoint!
Sunset is projected for 6.59pm on each day of the weekend, which is one minute before free practice one and three start on Friday and Saturday respectively (see the Singapore Grand Prix session times here).
That should make a glorious backdrop for the event – if the sky isn’t obscured by thunder clouds…
Singapore Grand Prix information