|Police and army officers repair a roof wrecked by tropical storm Podul in the central province of Hà Tĩnh. Some 700 houses and schools were damaged in the two northern provinces of Yên Bái and Phú Thọ as of last night. VNS Photo Hoàng Hà
HÀ NỘI A tropical depression is likely to appear next week and may turn into the fifth storm to hit the East Sea this year after tropical storm Podul struck Việt Nam yesterday.
The information was revealed by Trần Quang Năng, head of the Weather Forecast Office of the National Centre for Hydrometeorology Forecasting during a meeting yesterday of the Central Steering Committee on Natural Disaster Prevention and Control.
"Initial observations show the storm will be highly unpredictable, it’s probably forming right in the East Sea right now and will come to Việt Nam from the Philippines," he said.
“Northern localities in Việt Nam may see extremely heavy rain,” he added.
Storm Podul, the fourth storm to hit the East Sea this year, which made landfall in the central region yesterday, also caused rains and strong winds that destroyed some 700 houses and schools in the two northern provinces of Yên Bái and Phú Thọ as of last night, incurring losses of about VNĐ4.8 billion (US$185,000) for the two localities.
Heavy rainfall also damaged 135ha of paddy fields and 1.6ha of forest in Yên Bái Province’s Trạm Tấu District.
Provinces from Nghệ An to Quảng Trị suffered strong wind, while localities from Nghệ An to Thừa Thiên-Huế saw heavy rains from 100-250mm.
Whirlwinds triggered by the storm tore the roofs off 78 houses and uprooted many trees in Nghệ An and Hà Tĩnh provinces, and unroofed 41 houses and destroyed 11 electricity poles in Hà Tĩnh.
With wind speeds of 60-75km per hour, the storm also caused rough seas and high sea waves of two to three metres in coastal areas off Thanh Hóa to Quảng Trị provinces.
The storm weakened into a depression shortly after hitting the provinces. The depression is moving west at 20km per hour and was forecast to form a low-pressure zone above the border between Laos and Thailand as of yesterday afternoon.
Heavy rains are forecast to continue in northern and central provinces until Monday (September 2), particularly in Hòa Bình, Sơn La, Yên Bái and Phú Thọ. Rains are expected to reach 200-300mm.
Việt Nam’s airlines announced their plans to cancel or reschedule some flights due to the storm.
National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines cancelled five flights between Hà Nội, HCM City and Huế in Thừa Thiên-Huế Province on Thursday and changed the departure time of four flights between Hà Nội, HCM City and Vinh in Nghệ An Province on the same day.
Two more flights on the HCM City-Huế route will be added on Friday to carry those affected by Podul.
Jetstar Pacific cancelled two flights between HCM City and Đồng Hới (central Quảng Bình Province) and two flights between HCM City and Vinh on Thursday.
The budget carrier Vietjet Air has also announced cancellations on several flights to and from Đồng Hới and Huế, adding that affected passengers will be transferred to other flights when the weather improves.
Passengers travelling to and from the airports in northern and central Việt Nam are advised to stay updated on weather information and carriers’ notices so as to change their plans accordingly.
Each year, the country is hit by up to 10 tropical storms during the monsoon season between July and October.
Natural disasters, mostly floods, storms and landslides, killed 181 people last year and left 37 others missing and caused losses of around VNĐ20 trillion (US$858 million). VNS