Storm Bebinca weakens, Vietnam remains on alert

By Le Hoang, Vo Hai, Minh Cuong   August 16, 2018 | 08:26 pm PT
Storm Bebinca weakens, Vietnam remains on alert
Fishermen in Sam Son, Thanh Hoa Province, push fishing boats offshore to avoid damage from storm Bebinca. Photo by VnExpress/Le Hoang
Typhoon Bebinca weakened into a tropical depression en route to Vietnam’s central region on Friday morning.

Bebinca weakened into a tropical depression in the north central province of Thanh Hoa after lashing the region with torrential rains and gusty winds.

The brunt of this was borne by the area stretching from the northern province of Nam Dinh to Thanh Hoa, according to the National Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting Center.

As the storm weakened quickly, not much damage has been reported in Thanh Hoa, but local authorities ordered temporary power cuts in some areas to ensure safety.

Sam Son Beach, one of the most-visited tourist destinations in northern Vietnam, has returned to normal.

“Many people spent a sleepless night waiting for the storm to hit, but luckily it has not damaged any fishing boat or house,” said fisherman Le Van Thuy.

While Quang Ninh Province, home to the famous Ha Long Bay, was battered by rain from 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. on Friday, the weather turned to cloudy and sunny in the morning.

Tran Nhu Long, chairman of the Co To Island District, said everything was normal on the island.

Weather experts have said that the northern delta should expect heavy rainfall of between 50-150mm over the next 24 hours.

Despite the weakening storm, they have warned of high landslides and flooding risks.

The northern delta and the northern highlands, including the provinces of Lai Chau, Son La, Hoa Binh, Yen Bai and Phu Tho, as well as the central province of Nghe An, are most vulnerable to landslides and flash floods.

Flights cancelled

Vietnamese budget carrier Vietjet Air decided to cancel flights from Incheon to Hai Phong on Friday while Vietnam Airlines suspended two flights departing from Ho Chi Minh City to Hai Phong.

Extra flights will be arranged for affected passengers, they said. Passengers have been advised to get updates on weather conditions and announcements from the carriers while making travel plans.

This is the fourth storm to form this year in the East Sea, also known as the South China Sea. Two other storms, Yagi and Leepi, have formed in the South China Sea now.

The third storm of the year, Son Tinh, which hit northern and central Vietnam last month, triggered floods and landslides that killed at least 27 people.

Vietnam was struck by a record-breaking number of 16 tropical storms in 2017 that left 389 people dead or missing and injured 668 others, mostly in northern and central regions. The General Statistics Office estimated damage at around VND60 trillion ($2.64 billion), 1.5 times the previous year’s figure.

Damrey, one of the most destructive storms last year, hit Vietnam in November and killed at least 106 people.

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