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Feb 22, 2022 / 17:48

Bitter cold snap hits northern Vietnam

It is the coldest spell in the past 40 years, with the temperature dropping between 7-10 degrees Celsius.

The ongoing frigid weather in northern Vietnam will continue for the last week of February as a new cold spell will start hitting the region, including the capital city of Hanoi, on February 22 night, causing bone-chilling weather. The looming cold front is forecast to be the coldest in the past 40 years.

According to the National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting (NCHMF), the mercury will drop to 8-11 degrees Celsius and even 3-6 degrees Celsius or lower in mountainous areas where rains with snow are expected.

The existing cold snap has caused temperatures in northern localities to dip over the past couple of days. As of February 22 morning, temperatures were at about 10 degrees Celsius in Hanoi and below five degrees Celsius in mountainous areas.

 Hanoians are under bitting cold weather. Photo: Pham Tuan

As the northern and north-central regions languish in the grip of biting cold, frost has appeared in some high mountainous areas. The temperature is forecast to drop even between 7-10 degrees Celsius, and 2-5 degrees or lower tonight. At high altitudes, it will even fall to below zero degrees Celsius.

In Hanoi, the chilly weather will be intensified by light rain and strong wind in some places, with the lowest temperatures ranging from 7-9 degrees Celsius.

“It can be forecast that with the lowest temperature during the last week of February in the capital city, this will be one of the coldest spells in more than 40 years,” said Nguyen Van Huong, head of the Weather Forecasting Department under the NCHMF.

Residents in Hanoi have struggled with cold weather over the past few days as the extremely strong cold front caused temperatures to plummet to nine degrees Celsius, against the average of at least 30 degrees in tropical Vietnam year-round.

In response to the cold conditions, weather forecast centers are asked to increase daily weather updates and reports, particularly those in ethnic languages for ethnic minorities living in remote and mountainous regions, and provide advice to help people working outdoors, protect themselves from cold-weather hazards.

As the northern and north-central regions plunge into the cold, frost and ice have appeared in some high mountainous areas in northern provinces of Lai Chau, Lao Cai and Yen Bai for the last few days.

As the northern regions languish in the grip of biting cold, frost and ice cover trees in O Quy Ho pass in Lai Chau Province. Photo: Oanh Nguyen

Since February 18, a mass of cold air combined with rains has seen temperatures plunge in northern Vietnam during the coldest spell ever this winter. Temperatures in certain regions dropped below freezing, causing frost to cover the trees and ground.

Authorities in multiple provinces and cities in the region have allowed young students to stay home in the next few days.

Millions of school students must stay at home

Around three million of 17 million Vietnamese students remain at home due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and effects of the powerful cold spell, including 1.4 million kindergartners, the education ministry said.

As of February 21, 49 localities have reopened kindergartens, enabling 1.8 million children to return, according to the Ministry of Education and Training. Fourteen others have yet to do so, including Hanoi.

The Hanoi Department of Education and Training stated that primary schools would switch to online studying if temperatures drop below 10 degrees Celsius, while middle schools would follow suit once temperatures drop below 7.

On Monday, temperatures in Hanoi at 6:00 am were recorded at around 8.8 degrees, according to the NCHMF. It means over 455,000 students currently attending in-person classes in the city’s 18 outskirt districts are allowed to stay home.

Students of grades 1-6 in Hanoi's inner districts are still studying online as they have been doing for months due to the Covid-19 fears.