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Nov 11, 2020 / 11:55

Storm Etau weakens, another typhoon looms in South China Sea

The next typhoon to enter the South China Sea is expected to move westward and could threaten central Vietnam by this weekend.

Storm Etau weakened into a tropical depression on November 10 after making landfall in south central Vietnam, but freshly-spotted typhoon Vamco is likely to pick up intensity and head toward the East Sea, internationally known as the South China Sea, the National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting (NCHMF) has forecast.

Meteorologists warn that Vamco will track within a region of light wind shear and warm ocean water, ingredients that tropical storms need to strengthen.

 Storms Vamco’s tracking map. Photo: NCHFM

Vamco may quickly strengthen with maximum sustained winds of 179-208 kilometers per hour (kph), the center said, adding that the typhoon has high likelihood of hitting the northern Philippines with winds of this intensity today.

After sweeping across the Philippines during the middle of the week, Vamco is expected to move westward and could threaten central Vietnam by this weekend, potentially impacting Quang Tri province on November 15 with another round of strong winds and flooding rainfall.

Vamco is expected to enter the East Sea on November 12 after sweeping through the Bicol Region-Quezon area, proclaiming itself as the 13th storm to hit Vietnam this year, the NCHFM added.

If it does approach the Vietnamese coast, it will be the third in November. The two previous ones brought a deluge to south central and central provinces.

Storm Etau, the 12th storm, has been on course to strike localities from Phu Yen to Ninh Thuan provinces. By 4:00am on November 11, the remnants of the storm made its berth above eastern Cambodia, with the strongest winds dropping significantly.

From Tuesday into to Thursday, Khanh Hoa, home to the beach resort town of Nha Trang, Phu Yen and Binh Dinh provinces and the Central Highlands have been heavily soaked with the total average rainfall of 150-300mm. Rainfall of 180 mm a day is considered heavy.

Hundreds of roofs have been blown away, trees have been uprooted and motorbike drivers tumbled on the street after being hit by gusts of wind in Nha Trang on Tuesday morning. Two deaths have been reported so far.

Portions of central Vietnam received 1,270-2,540 mm during last month which led to widespread and deadly flooding there. In October, the central region suffered from torrential rains, widespread flooding and landslides after being hit by four storms. At least 235 people were killed or went missing and almost 390,000 houses were flooded, according to the Vietnam Disaster Management Authority.