|Houses damaged by hail in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai. Hailstorms have battered the province during the past three days. — Photo Courtesy of dantri.com.vn
LAO CAI (VNS) — Hailstorms continued to wreak havoc across the northern region yesterday, causing severe damage to citizens' property in Lao Cai, Thai Nguyen and Tuyen Quang provinces.
Nearly 1,200 houses and some schools in Vo Nhai and Dong Hy districts of Thai Nguyen province were maimed after being hit by massive hailstones early yesterday morning.
Total damage caused by the hailstones, with an average diameter of 5-15cm, was initially estimated to cost more than VND2.5 billion (US$119,000).
Meanwhile, more than 200 houses and tens of hectares of crops in Tuyen Quang Province were also affected by hailstones.
Storms were also recorded in Lao Cai Province yesterday morning, the second hailstorm to strike the province over the past three days.
Blocks of ice, coupled with whirlwinds and rain, seriously injured one person who was hospitalised, also damaging over 100 houses and nearly 10ha of crops.
Three days ago, Lao Cai was hit by the heaviest hailstorm in its history, when 33 people were injured and property damages totalled nearly VND70 billion ($334,000).
Hailstorms also slashed Cao Bang and Ha Giang provinces on Wednesday.
As a result, local authorities are taking drastic measures to help citizens deal with the aftermath of the hailstorms.
Deputy director of the National Hydro-meteorological Forecast Centre Le Thanh Hai said a cold spell had moved into the northern region while it experienced hot weather, meaning movements of cold and hot air triggered strong winds and hailstorms.
Given the sporadic appearance of the extreme weather, its effects were impossible to forecast, he said.
"April and May are at highest risk of hailstorms and whirlwinds, particularly in northern mountainous areas," Hai added.
He admitted that the organisation was unable to correctly forecast hailstorms, saying meteorologists could only give warnings of hailstorms on a wider scale.
Whirlwinds are expected to sweep across northern parts of the country this weekend, according to the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting.
Temperatures will range between 21-28 degrees Celsius with showers likely to hit Ha Noi and the north-eastern region in the next three days.
Ships in the Tonkin Gulf are advised to prepare for whirlwinds and strong winds and take necessary precautions.
In the meantime, heat waves are expected to attack the southern and Central Highland regions, with the temperature expected to top 37 Celsius degrees in some areas. — VNS