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Singapore Faces More Rain After Orchard Road Floods

Singapore faces more rain in coming days after downpours yesterday caused the worst flooding of the Orchard Road shopping district in 26 years.

The weather today will be “partly cloudy” and there may be showers with thunder in the coming three days, the National Environment Agency said on its website. Almost 100 millimeters of rain fell before 11 a.m. yesterday, more than 60 percent of the average monthly rainfall for June, according to the national water agency.

About 70 people were rescued from buses and cars in the worst flooding of the shopping strip since 1984, while no injuries were reported. The basement of the Liat Towers building along Orchard Road was inundated, damaging goods in stores including Retailer RSH Ltd.’s Massimo Dutti outlet.

The Public Utilities Board “is investigating the cause of the flooding at Orchard Road,” it said in a statement yesterday. Flood waters in the Orchard Road area reached 300 millimeters after an “intense storm,” and subsided within one hour, the board said.

The agency said yesterday it was clearing up debris on the roads and assisting property owners in pumping out water from basements. Investigations on the cause of the flood can only be carried out when the water level in the drains subsides, it said.

Between 1982 and 2008, Singapore had an average 15 days of thunderstorms in the month of June. In the 140 years to 2008, total rainfall in the month of June averaged 162.2 millimeters.

Coronation Road West, Fourth Avenue, Kings Road, Kheam Hock Road and Veerasamy Road, all in central Singapore, were also affected by the floods, the water agency said.

Transport Services

None of the train services run by SMRT Corp., Singapore’s biggest subway operator, were disrupted, while some of its buses were diverted to avoid the floods, according to a company spokeswoman.

Some buses operated by ComfortDelgro Corp., Singapore’s biggest public bus and taxi company, were stranded, while others had to be diverted, a company spokeswoman said.

There were no customers inside the Massimo Dutti store during the floods, RSH said in a statement to the Singapore stock exchange yesterday. The Massimo Dutti store is “adequately insured,” it said, without giving details on the condition of goods in the shop.

Starbucks Corp., Hermes International SCA and Inditex SA, the owner of the Zara fashion chain, are among companies that have outlets in Liat Towers, the “flagship building” of Singapore property developer Bonvests Holdings Ltd.

“We are still in the midst of surveying the damages and we are unable to give an estimate of the losses resulting from the flood,” Madeleine Ho, marketing director of Hermes Singapore, said today. “Our store will reopen once we have put everything back in order. We cannot confirm when this will be as yet.”

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