As the biting cold is covering northern provinces this weekend, snow is falling quite heavily in Sa Pa, a resort town in Lao Cai Province, much to tourists’ delight.
Snow began flurrying in the beloved resort town around 12:30 am on Sunday, and fell intermittently and even thickened during the previous night.
Vehicles, vegetation and roofs in the area were coated with blankets of snow.
Temperatures kept plummeting and plunged to as low as minus two degrees Celsius at certain points.
Delighted youths and tourists stayed awake all night to behold the whiteout and frolic in the snow.
A snow wave also hit Sa Pa in late December 2013, when the temperature there fell to two degrees Celsius in O Quy Ho and zero degree in the Nui Xe mountain area.
Icy mountain peak
Meanwhile, residents in Hanoi and other northern provinces have experienced freezing temperatures since Saturday morning as the northern and north-central regions were hit by the coldest spell of the winter-spring season the same day.
Temperatures dropped to minus 2.5 degrees Celsius atop Mau Son Mountain in Lang Son Province, which is typically the first locality in Vietnam to experience the weather ice phenomenon.
Many visitors from Hanoi and elsewhere scrambled on treacherous winding paths leading to the mountain peak for a taste and snapshots of the ice.
The influxes left all bungalows and hotels atop Mau Son which are normally deserted operating to their full capacity on Saturday.
Chung Hung, a local trekker, revealed that he was heading to O Quy Ho, one of the four most spectacular passes in the country’s northwest and northeast region, for the ice.
Sunday (January 24) is forecast to be the coldest day in the northern region due to the ongoing cold front.
Weather forecasts showed that temperatures decreased to 1.6, 1.5 and 2.6 degrees Celsius in the UNESCO-recognized Dong Van Karst Plateau, Tam Dao, a scenic spot in Vinh Phuc Province, and Pha Din Pass in Dien Bien Province, respectively, as of 7:00 pm on Saturday.
Red Delta localities, including Hanoi, also had seen falling temperatures range from 7.2 to 9.8 degrees Celsius as of 7:00 pm on Saturday.
The northern region is entirely embedded in the cold front on Sunday, with freezing temperatures to drop to below zero degree Celsius and ice and frost forecast to persist, weather forecasters said.
Ly Gio Co, an official in Y Ty Commune, Bat Xat District, Lao Cai Province, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporters that this cold spell is predicted to be the chilliest since last year.
Mong ethnic minority families in Sa Pa have taken measures to cushion their cattle and crops from damage possibly caused by the cold snap.
Temperatures are forecast to plummet to minus one degree Celsius in Sa Pa on Sunday night, with more ice to appear the following morning.
The ongoing cold snap has also triggered strong sea gusts, posing serious hazards to boats.
The Tonkin Gulf and sea off central and southern provinces, the entire East Vietnam Sea, including the waters around Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratly) and Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelagoes have packed winds of levels six to eight and seen rough seas.
The cold snap, forecast to last until Wednesday (January 27), has also greatly affected localities in the central region, causing temperatures to drop to 10.4 and 12.4 degrees Celsius in Vinh City, the heart of Nghe An Province, and Ha Tinh Province, respectively.
The cold front moving from the northern region may also reduce temperatures in Ho Chi Minh City and neighboring provinces to as low as 17-18 degrees Celsius this weekend and early next week, according to Le Thi Xuan Lan, a hydrometeorologist.