Tropical storm Rai is expected to enter the East Sea on December 18, becoming the ninth storm to hit Vietnam this year, according to the National Center for Hydro-meteorological Forecasting (NCHMF).
The storm is currently located about 800-900 kilometers to the east of the Philippines, with wind speed of 100-117 kilometers per hour, the center said.
It added that Rai will weaken before entering the East Sea, but will then gather strength to reach levels 12-13, causing strong winds and dumping heavy rains in the sea and on the land.
A map detailing the expected track of tropical storm Rai. Photo: The National Center for Hydro-meteorological Forecasting
Hoang Phuc Lam, deputy director of the NCHMF, told The Hanoi Times that storm Rai is forecast to travel northwest and pick up strength, with wind speed increasing to 135-165 kilometers per hour.
“It may weaken after passing the Philippines. However, the storm will result in powerful winds, which can reach up to 130 kilometers per hour, and strong waves at sea, including Vietnam's Truong Sa (Spratly) and Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelagoes,” Lam said.
Rai may interact with an enhanced cold front in northern Vietnam, thus its route will be unpredictable, Lam warned, adding that the storm is likely to cause rough seas and bad weather conditions on the mainland as early as Sunday.
The National Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control on December 15 organized a teleconference with 20 provinces and cities in central and southern Vietnam to prepare for the arrival of storm Rai.
Deputy Head of the National Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control Tran Quang Hoai speaks at a meeting to discuss measures against Tropical Storm Rai. Photo: Hoang Thu
Speaking at the meeting, the committee’s Deputy Head Tran Quang Hoai asked meteorologists to keep close watch of the storm and provide frequent updates on its development.
He asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to send diplomatic notes to neighboring countries, in order to provide shelter for Vietnamese fishermen during the storm.
Hoai also requested authorities in the coastal localities from the north-central Quang Binh Province to the southern Ca Mau Province to closely monitor the development of the storm.
Captains of local ships and fishing boats must be promptly informed of potential danger at sea, Hoai underscored, urging coastal provinces to evacuate coastal aquatic farms and fishing boats to seek refuge.