Darkened sky in Đà Nẵng City in central Việt Nam. — VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — Storm Molave, the worst to hit Việt Nam in the last two decades according to experts, was fast approaching the central coastline on Wednesday morning and has already claimed two lives.
A 39-year-old man in Quảng Ngãi Province died yesterday night after falling while reinforcing his house, while another 40-year-old man died this morning after falling off a tree he was pruning in a secondary school in the same province to prepare for the storm's arrival.
The ninth storm to enter the East Sea this year will be the fourth to make landfall within a span of a single month, according to Deputy Director of the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting Hoàng Phúc Lâm.
Molave is forecast to make landfall at about 11am.
The centre said 74km per hour winds were measured at Bình Châu (Quảng Ngãi Province) this morning. Localities from Thừa Thiên-Huế to Phú Yên provinces are being blanketed by 70-155mm rainfall.
Public facilities near the beach in Đà Nẵng City sustained heavy damage on Wednesday due to strong winds and downpours as a result of storm Molave. — VNA/VNS Photo
The storm is forecast to move west-northwest at 25km per hour until 4pm today, packing winds of up to 149km per hour, with gusts of up to 183km per hour, then weakening into a tropical low-pressure system at around 7pm today in the Việt Nam-Laos border area with the strongest winds near the centre reaching 50-60km.
Coastal areas from Thừa Thiên-Huế to Phú Yên will see winds of 117 to 149km per hour with gusts of up to 149km per hour, while inland areas will be hit by winds of 102km per hour with gusts of 133km per hour.
A total of 1,242 fishing vessels with 7,430 workers of Đà Nẵng have been ordered to return home and only two vessels with 17 crewmembers are still operational at sea but in the southernmost region of Cà Mau, likely out of harm’s way.
Cửa Đại beach in the popular tourist destination Hội An City was reinforced ahead of the storm. — VNA/VNS Photo
As of 9am, several localities across the region had reported power cuts.
Phú Yên Province reported that more than 44,200 people had been evacuated as of 8pm on Tuesday.
The province is also witnessing strong gusts and heavy rainfall this morning, uprooting trees and blowing off tin roofs and advertisement panels in some parts of Phú Yên City and rural areas.
Rains up to 200-400mm will be expected for Nghệ An to Quảng Trị provinces throughout today to Saturday.
The military has mobilised nearly 250,000 troops and 2,300 vehicles for search and rescue missions.
Deputy Prime Minister Trịnh Đình Dũng, head of the National Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control, directed preparatory work before the storm in central localities.
Earlier, the Civil Aviation Administration of Việt Nam (CAAV) decided to close Chu Lai, Phù Cát, Đà Nẵng, and Tuy Hoà airports in the central region from 6pm on Tuesday to at least 4pm Wednesday.
Pleiku Airport in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai will also be closed, from 9pm on Tuesday to 7pm on Wednesday, the CAAV said.
Agencies have been asked to keep a close watch on the impact of the storm on Đồng Hới and Cam Ranh airports in the central and south-central region, Buôn Mê Thuột and Liên Khương airports in the Central Highlands, and others in the south to propose suitable operational plans.
Earlier, airlines such as national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air, and Bamboo Airways announced adjustments to flight timetables due to the approaching storm.
Satellite image of the storm Molave at 8am on Wednesday. — Photo from the National Center for Hydrometeorological Forecasting
The storm comes as the central region is still reeling from the impacts of historic flooding and successive storms since earlier this month which have resulted in the death of at least 130 people, with 18 still missing. Some 7 million people have been affected by the disaster.
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has decided to provide 6,500 tonnes of rice from the national reserves for four central provinces to assist people affected by the recent flooding.
Quảng Bình will receive 2,500 tonnes of rice, Quảng Trị 2,000 tonnes, and Thừa Thiên-Huế and Quảng Nam 1,000 tonnes each. — VNS