Wipha to hit northern Vietnam Friday night, heavy rains forecast

By Vo Hai, Phan Anh   August 2, 2019 | 03:53 am PT
Wipha to hit northern Vietnam Friday night, heavy rains forecast
People react under heavy rain as typhoon Wipha approaches in Hong Kong, July 31, 2019. Photo by Reuters/Tyrone Siu.
Storm Wipha is expected to make landfall in Quang Ninh Province and neighboring Hai Phong City Friday night with winds of up to 90kph.

Wipha, the third storm to brew this year over the East Sea, internationally known as the South China Sea, was 160 kilometers from the port city of Hai Phong and Quang Ninh Province, home to Ha Long Bay, at noon Friday, packing winds of 75kph.

It is expected to move west at 5-10kph for the next 12 hours into northern Vietnam after making landfall at 10 p.m. before weakening into a tropical depression, the National Center for Hydro - Meteorological Forecasting said.

Weather stations in Hong Kong and Japan have forecast landfall over Quang Ninh and Hai Phong at midnight or early Saturday morning before the storm goes further inland and weakens.

The U.S. Navy weather station has predicted the storm will weaken over the Hai Phong coast.

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

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

Vietnam’s weather station said the storm would bring heavy rain 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.

Rainfall of 180 mm a day is considered heavy.

Hanoi is forecast to get 100-200mm of rain starting Friday afternoon, with some areas receiving over 250mm of rain. The capital is only capable of handling 120mm of rain per hour.

The provinces of Quang Ninh, Thai Binh and Nam Dinh and Hai Phong started banning vessels from going out to sea on Thursday and evacuated people.

Co To Island District in Quang Ninh however still has over 300 tourists. But the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention said their safety would be ensured.

Fourteen fishing vessels from the central province of Quang Binh lost contact on Thursday while looking to take refuge from the storm near China’s Hainan Island.

A search for them has begun.

Vietnam is 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.

Storm Mun hit the northern and central regions in June, killing two in Thanh Hoa.

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