A tropical depression headed towards southwest Vietnam early on December 20 and and is forecast to evolve into a storm, according to the National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting (NCHMF).
The tropical depression was located at 170 kilometers southeast of Song Tu Tay Island in Vietnam's Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago as of 7:00 am Sunday, packing winds at 50-60 kilometers per hour (kph), the center said.
It is likely to travel westward at 10-15 kph in the next 12 hours and could develop into a storm and grow stronger as it keeps moving.
Mr. Tran Quang Hoai speaks at the meeting. Photo: Ngoc Ha
By 7:00 am Monday, the eye of the storm is likely to be around 270 km southwest of the Truong Sa Archipelago as it moves closer to the cape of Ca Mau, the southernmost point of Vietnam in Ca Mau province.
Wind gusts at 60-75kph on average and could reach 60-90 kph in the area near the storm eye, the NCHMF said, adding that the tropical depression is expected to trigger tides as high as 5-7 meters in Truong Sa.
The storm will head southwest in the next 24 to 48 hours and west in the next 48 to 72 hours, with wind gusts of 60-90kph.
The storm will cause rough seas, high tides, and rain in the central and southern part of the East Sea (known internationally as the South China Sea) in the coming days.
Tran Quang Hoai, director general of the Vietnam Disaster Management Authority under Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, emphasized at this morning’s meeting that the tropical depression is strengthening into a storm, affecting the entire East Sea with very strong winds and complicated evolution.
The risks are still great, Mr. Hoai said, recommending that localities should urgently take actions to respond to the tropical depression.
If the depression becomes a storm, it will be the 14th to have made landfall in Vietnam this year.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development reported that successive storms, floods and landslides that hit Vietnam’s central region from mid-September to mid-November resulted in 192 deaths, 57 missing and an estimated economic loss of VND30 trillion (US$1.29 billion).