Saudel weakens, new tropical storm heads to East Sea

By Nguyen Quy   October 24, 2020 | 08:03 pm PT
Saudel weakens, new tropical storm heads to East Sea
Houses in Ha Tinh Province are submerged under floodwater following prolonged heavy rains, October 24, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Hung.
Storm Saudel is set to make landfall in central Vietnam as a tropical depression, but a new storm is heading to the East Sea.

At 7 a.m. Sunday, Saudel was about 260 km to the east of the coast of provinces Ha Tinh, Quang Binh and Quang Tri with maximum wind speeds of 90 kph, about 10 kph lower than recorded at 1 p.m. Saturday, according to the National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting.

The storm continues moving west at a speed of 20 kph. At 4 p.m. Sunday, its maximum wind speed is expected to decline to 75 kph.

Around 1 a.m. Monday, the storm is set to weaken into a tropical depression and make landfall on central provinces from Ha Tinh to Quang Tri, which have already been suffering deadly flooding and landslides for several weeks.

At 7 a.m. Monday the center of the tropical depression would be to the south of Laos with maximum wind speeds of below 40 kph.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said it recorded Storm Saudel reaching maximum wind speeds of 92 kph Sunday morning, and expects it to decline to 80 kph by the evening. The agency has forecast the storm will weaken into a tropical depression upon approaching the mainland of Ha Tinh and its neighbor Quang Binh.

A U.S. Navy notification has made similar predictions as the Vietnamese weather forecasting agency, saying the storm packed winds of 90 kph Sunday morning and would weaken into a tropical depression with a maximum wind speed of 75 kph before making landfall.

Weather experts say central Vietnam provinces from Nghe An to Thua Thien-Hue should expect heavy rains from Sunday until Monday with rainfall of up to 200 mm. Rainfall of 180 mm a day is considered heavy.

No respite

Meanwhile, a tropical depression in the east of central Philippines has gained strength and grown into tropical storm Molave.

At 7 a.m. Sunday, the storm lay centered around 230 km east of the central coast of the Philippines with maximum wind speeds of 90 kph.

The Vietnamese weather forecasting agency says that in the next two days, the storm would mainly move in a western direction at 25 kph and enter the East Sea, internationally known as the South China Sea. This would be the ninth storm to hit Vietnamese waters this year.

At 7 a.m. Tuesday, the storm would be around 300 kilometers to the northeast of Southwest Cay of Vietnam's Spratly Islands, packing wind speeds of 135 kph.

If Storm Molave enters the East Sea as predicted, the month of October would have witnessed four tropical storms and one tropical depression, as happened in October 1993, the month with the most storms and tropical depressions recorded in Vietnam's meteorological industry.

The government says damage caused by stormy weather in central Vietnam in recent weeks, particularly the provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue, has been the "worst in five years."

As of Saturday, at least 130 had lost their lives to floods and landslides in the region and 18 others were still missing, according to data from the nation’s disaster management authorities.

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