Vietnam braces for Storm Saudel as central provinces incapacitated by floods

By Nguyen Quy   October 20, 2020 | 11:20 pm PT
Vietnam braces for Storm Saudel as central provinces incapacitated by floods
Locals row a boat to reach a hospital in Quang Binh Province for medical check, October 20, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa.
Storm Saudel, formed from a tropical depression near the Philippines, entered the East Sea on Wednesday morning and is forecast to head towards central Vietnam coast.

At 10 a.m. Wednesday, the storm lay centered around 600 kilometers to the southeast of Vietnam’s Paracel Islands in the East Sea, known internationally as the South China Sea, with maximum wind speed of 75 kph, according to the National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting.

In the next 24 hours, the storm would move west at a speed of 15 kph and is likely to gain strength.

Around 10 a.m. Thursday, the storm would lie around 410 kilometers to the east of Paracel Islands with maximum wind speed of 100 kph.

During the next 24-48 hours, the storm will continue moving northwest at 5-10 kph.

At around 10 a.m. Friday, it would lie around 280 kilometers to the east-southeast of Paracel Islands, with a maximum wind speed of 115 kph.

Japan Meteorological Agency said Saudel’s maximum wind speed on Wednesday reached 65 kph and would rise to 108 kph the same day. The storm's maximum wind speed on Friday is forecast to reach 150 kph.

Hong Kong Observatory predicted Saudel’s maximum wind speed at 120 kph on Saturday.

The national weather forecast center predicted the storm would make landfall in Ha Tinh Province in north central Vietnam on Monday morning, packing winds of 75 kph, national broadcaster Vietnam Television reported.

For the past two weeks, the central region including Ha Tinh has been hit by prolonged heavy rains that triggered historic flooding and deadly landslides, resulting in 111 deaths.

More than 200,000 people in flood-prone Ha Tinh, Quang Binh and Quang Tri Provinces have been evacuated.

Vietnam is prone to destructive storms and flooding due to its long coastline.

Natural disasters, predominantly floods and landslides triggered by storms, killed 132 people and injured 207 others in the country last year.

The East Sea could see 11-13 storms and tropical depressions this year, half of them affecting Vietnam, meteorologists have warned.

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