Vietnamese authorities yesterday cautioned vessels out at the East Sea (Bien Dong) to return to safety and maintain contact as the Halong tropical storm is approaching and forecast to hit neighboring Philippines in the next 24 hours.
In an urgent telegram dispatched the same day, the National Steering Committee for Flood and Storm Control instructed relevant agencies to have preparation measures in place to tackle the typhoon though it is predicted to strike the country’s waters and spare its mainland.
Named after the famous Ha Long Bay in northern Viet Nam, the storm - the second to hit Viet Nam - was located at 147o North latitude and 117o6’ East longitude last night, packing wind speeds of 62-74 km per hour at its center, said the Central Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting Station.
Violent seas are predicted off southern Viet Nam comprising the Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagoes while winds measuring up to level 7 on the Beaufort scale are to lash coastal areas stretching from Binh Thuan to southernmost Ca Mau province.
Due to the approaching typhoon, the southern region including Ho Chi Minh City will experience heavy rains today and tomorrow evenings.
In the next 24 hours, the storm will move northeast at 10km per hour and can gradually strengthen. At 1pm tomorrow, it is forecast to land on the Philippines’ Luzon Island with wind speeds at its eye of up to 74 km per hour.
On Monday it will leave the island for the Pacific Ocean and will no longer affect Viet Nam, the weather bureau added.
Meanwhile, two fishermen went missing when heavy rains in the past few days in the south sank their boat off Kien Giang province. In Hon Dat district, lightning recently killed two locals, unroofed nearly 400 houses and destroyed 1,400 ha of paddy fields.