Wipha floods streets after landing in northern Vietnam

By Vo Hai   August 2, 2019 | 05:42 pm PT
Wipha floods streets after landing in northern Vietnam
Trees are uprooted in Mong Cai, Quang Ninh Province, upon storm Wipha's landing on August 2, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Minh Cuong.
Storm Wipha weakened into a tropical depression Saturday after making landfall in Quang Ninh Province Friday night.

As of 4 a.m. Saturday morning, the center of the tropical depression was hovering above the port city Hai Phong and Quang Ninh Province, home to the world famous Ha Long Bay, with wind speeds of 60 kilometers (37 miles) per hour.

Weather experts expect that over the next 12 hours, the depression will continue moving in a west-southwest direction with winds of 10 kph before forming a low-pressure zone over the southern region of the northern delta.

Hai Phong started to receive heavy downpours that flooded many streets on Saturday morning.

[Video shows flooded streets in Hai An District, Hai Phong.]

Mong Cai Town in Quang Ninh received rainfall of up to 209 mm on Friday night. Many trees were uprooted and several streets flooded. Rainfall of 180 mm a day is considered heavy.

Initial inspections show no substantial damage in the town, said Nguyen Van Kinh, chairman of Mong Cai. Currently, the water levels in its Ka Long River are rising and local forces stand ready along its banks to deploy necessary plans, he added.

Despite the storm weakening, weather experts have warned of strong winds and high waves in the Gulf of Tonkin, including coastal areas in Quang Ninh and Hai Phong over the next 24 hours.

The storm had edged close to China’s southern coast earlier this week, triggering heavy rains.

Hong Kong on Wednesday raised a tropical cyclone signal eight, its third highest level, closing schools and financial markets.

Vietnam’s weather experts said the storm would bring heavy rains until Sunday, with the northern and north-central regions receiving downpours of 100-300mm and the northeastern region and the northern province of Thanh Hoa, 200-400mm.

Hanoi is forecast to get 100-200mm of rain over the weekend, with some areas receiving over 250mm of rain.

The provinces of Quang Ninh, Thai Binh and Nam Dinh, and Hai Phong had prepared for the storm by banning vessels from going out to sea on Thursday and evacuating people from areas vulnerable to landslides and flooding.

Contact was lost with 14 fishing vessels from the central province of Quang Binh Thursday as they sought to take refuge from the storm near China’s Hainan Island. A search operation has been launched to try and find them.

Wipha was the third storm to brew this year over the East Sea, internationally known as the South China Sea. 

Vietnam can be hit by up to 10 tropical storms during the monsoon season between July and October. This year the number is expected to be four.

There were nine storms last year.

Natural disasters, mostly floods, storms and landslides, killed 181 people last year and left 37 others missing and caused losses of around VND20 trillion ($858 million).

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