​High chance of direct hit by super Typhoon Mangkhut looms for northern Vietnam

Residents are told to brace for the strongest storm so far in 2018

A worker recovers net in a fish pen before Super Typhoon Mangkhut hits the main island of Luzon, in Muntinlupa, Metro Manila, in Philippines, September 13, 2018. Photo: Reuters

There’s a high probability that Super Typhoon Mangkhut, on course to bear down on northern Philippines before heading for the East Vietnam Sea over the weekend, will directly hit Vietnam’s northern provinces next Monday, according to forecasts.

Typhoon Mangkhut, the strongest storm so far of 2018, have a “70-80 percent chance” of directly hitting the northern provinces of Thanh Hoa and Nghe An as it makes landfall next week, according to Le Thanh Hai, an official from Vietnam’s General Department for Hydro-Meteorology.

As of 7:00 am on Friday, the monster storm was approximately 530 kilometers east of the Philippines island of Luzon, packing winds of up to 220 kilometers per hour, according to the National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting (NCHMF).

Over the next 24 hours, the super typhoon will likely continue to head north-northwest at the speed of around 25kph to be just north of Luzon by 7:00 am Saturday.

“Hopefully, the hurricane will weaken as it enters Luzon to a category-14 or category-15 typhoon [on the Beaufort scale], and further devolve the closer it gets to China’s Leizhou,” Hai said.

However, Hai predicted that Super Typhoon Mangkhut would still be fierce enough to have a formidable impact over the Gulf of Tonkin when it sweeps over the area.

Heavy rains, strong winds and rough waters are in the forecast over the northeast part of the East Vietnam Sea starting Friday evening, with conditions expected to get worse from Saturday morning.

Super Typhoon Mangkhut is forecast to be around 440km east of China’s Hainan Island on Sunday morning, before barreling down on northern Vietnam on Monday morning.

Apart from Thanh Hoa and Nghe An, neighboring provinces from Ha Tinh to Quang Tri will also be affected by the hurricane with extreme downpours in the forecast, Hai said.

More than four million people in the Philippines are in the path of destructive typhoon-force winds caused by Super Typhoon Mangkhut, while around 12,000 people have been evacuated from low-lying parts of China's Guangdong Province, according to CNN.

The massive storm, at its peak on Wednesday, became the strongest storm of 2018 with winds of 285kph.

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