Bolaven weakens into tropical depression, spares Vietnam

By Huu Nguyen   January 3, 2018 | 07:00 pm PT
Bolaven weakens into tropical depression, spares Vietnam
People evacuate from their homes in southern Vietnam as Typhoon Tembin was forecast to make landfall in December 2017. Photo by VnExpress/Phuoc Tuan
The storm's winds are forecast to wear down to 40 kph on Thursday afternoon and cause thunderstorms offshore.

Vietnam can breathe a sigh of relief as Storm Bolaven weakened into a tropical depression en route to the south central region on Thursday morning.

The depression was spotted around 300 kilometers offshore at 4 a.m. on Thursday, blowing winds of around 60 kilometers (37 miles) per hour.

It is forecast to continue moving closer as it weakens, carrying winds of 40 kph along the coastline from Ninh Thuan to Ben Tre Provinces at around 4 p.m. on Thursday.

The National Center for Hydrometeorological Forecasting said there will be thunderstorms and rough waters around islands in the South China Sea, which is known as the East Sea in Vietnam.

Bolaven was the first storm to threaten Vietnamese waters this year. It intensified from a tropical depression on Wednesday morning after killing at least two people in the Philippines.

The storm came just a week after typhoon Tembin scared Saigon and the entire southern region into mass evacuations and school closures. Tembin had been forecast to make landfall in southern Vietnam after killing at least 230 people in the Philippines. But it moved further south and weakened offshore.

Vietnam was hit by a record number of 16 tropical storms in 2017. Storms and numerous floods left 389 people dead or missing and injured 668 others, mostly in northern and central regions. The disasters caused damage worth around VND60 trillion ($2.64 billion), 1.5 times more than the previous year, according to the General Statistics Office.

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