Tropical depression grows into storm en route to southern Vietnam

By Huu Nguyen   January 2, 2018 | 08:13 pm PT
Tropical depression grows into storm en route to southern Vietnam
Men prepare for Typhoon Tembin in Ca Mau Province in southern Vietnam in December 2017. Photo by VnExpress/Phuc Hung
Bolaven, the year’s first storm, is forecast to ravage the south central coast from Wednesday.

A tropical depression which has killed at least two people in the Philippines strengthened into a storm as it was heading to south central Vietnam on Wednesday morning.

The depression gained strength after entering the South China Sea, which is known as the East Sea in Vietnam, and became the first storm to rage Vietnamese waters this year.

Bolaven, as the storm has been named, is moving with winds of 75 kilometers (47 miles) per hour and is forecast to be around 250 kilometers off Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan Provinces on Thursday morning, according to the National Center for Hydrometerological Forecasting.

The storm is feared to pose high risks to the region, before weakening into a tropical depression the same day with wind speeds of up to 60 kph, threatening more than 500 kilometers of coastline between Phu Yen and Ba Ria-Vung Tau, the latter neighboring Saigon.

Saigon should expect heavy flooding as the southern metropolis will be affected by both the depression and 2-meter high tides in the next two days. 

The new storm is coming 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. The 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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