January 15, 2018 / 11:40 AM / 2 years ago

Tropical Singapore rugs up as temperatures drop

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - A dip in temperature in Singapore has prompted an unusual parade of fur jackets, scarves and other winter items in the streets of the perennially balmy city-state, as more northern parts of the globe shivered under Arctic conditions.

FILE PHOTO: People wait in the rain for the New Year fireworks at Marina Bay in Singapore December 31, 2017. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

Temperatures fell to 21.4 degrees Celsius (70.5 degrees Fahrenheit) on Friday, according to the Meteorological Service Singapore, and continued in the low 20s over the weekend. On Sunday, it was 21.4C, the lowest since 2016.

While such conditions would not be considered cold in most parts of the world, the temperature was below last year’s annual average of 27.7C in a city where residents fight the heat and humidity all year round with air conditioning.

The country’s main newspaper, The Straits Times, headlined the cooler, wet conditions “The Big Chill”.

Some businesses seized on an immediate marketing opportunity with a local bakery selling cupcakes glazed with Princess Elsa from Disney’s “Frozen” animated feature and a traditional Chinese medicine clinic pushing its hot foot baths on Facebook.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) said in a statement the cooler weather is due to a condition called a “monsoon surge” in which brisk wind from Northern Asia pushes cold air down from the Arctic, affecting the South China Sea and its surrounding region.

The lowest temperature ever recorded in Singapore was 19.0C on Feb. 14, 1989.

Retailers have enjoyed a recent increase in demand for jackets and outerwear. Winter clothes outlet Universal Traveller said several customers bought fleece jackets to battle the Singapore cold last week.

“The customers wore the jackets immediately after buying them,” a spokespeson for the store said.

For fashion-conscious residents such as Robin Goh, the chilly weather was a rare opportunity to sport trendy winter apparel, such as sweaters, hoodies and denim jackets, without having to travel abroad.”Even for someone who is used to traveling to colder climates, the weather was a most welcome change for locals,” the 40-year-old corporate communications professional said. He noted that the cold weather in Singapore was a “new experience” for many.”Some Singaporeans have never experienced cold weather, like my mother in her 70s who had donned a sweater and socks at home against the biting cold marble floor,” he said.

Reporting by Dewey Sim; Editing by Sam Holmes

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