|Fishing boats dock at Bái Tử Long Island in Quảng Ninh Province in preparation for the approaching typhoon. — VNS Photo Việt Thanh|
HÀ NỘI — Typhoon No.3, internationally known as Wipha, is forecast to hit the northern coastal province of Quảng Ninh and Hải Phòng City at 4pm today, according to the National Hydro-meteorological Forecast Centre.
At 4am on Friday, the storm eye was seen 180km away from the province with wind speed recorded at level 9 (of 12 levels) of 75 to 90km per hour.
The storm is moving west at five to 10km per hour. After it hits northern provinces from Quảng Ninh to Thái Bình on Friday night, the storm is expected to weaken to a tropical depression.
Strong winds at level 7 to 8 have been recorded over the Tonkin Gulf, including on islands Bạch Long Vĩ, Cô Tô, Cát Hải and Vân Đồn.
Coastal areas in Quảng Ninh and Hải Phòng have been warned against storm surges and high tides of 4 to 4.5 metres.
The Red River Delta is predicted to have strong winds at level 7 on Friday afternoon.
Downpours are expected in the northern and central regions from Friday to Sunday.
Hải Phòng's Cát Bi Airport and Quảng Ninh Province’s Vân Đồn Airport will be temporarily closed from 12pm on Friday to 12pm on Saturday due to the storm.
Airlines have also adjusted their flight schedules to ensure aviation safety, with many flights to and from the two airports cancelled on Friday.
Eleven flights operated by Vietjet Air to and from Hải Phòng on Friday and Saturday have been cancelled. Other flights are expected to be affected.
Jetstar Pacific has cancelled two flights to and from Hải Phòng on Friday and altered the schedules of flights on other routes.
Vietnam Airlines has cancelled six flights connecting Hải Phòng and HCM City on Friday and Saturday and changed the departure time of other flights to Hải Phòng.
According to the Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Rescue under the High Command of Border Guards, till 6am today, the agency have collaborated with local authorities to evacuate more than 72,000 boats and nearly 300,000 people working on seas from Quảng Ninh to Thanh Hoá provinces.
Water levels in the northern region’s reservoirs are at 60 to 70 per cent of capacity while reservoirs in the northern central region remain at the low level of 25 to 30 per cent.
Currently, from Quảng Ninh to Hà Tĩnh, there are 141 reservoirs that are damaged and 62 others under construction that might pose dangers for local residents and farms when floods occur. — VNS