Tropical depression, rough seas kill four

HA NOI — Four fishermen were killed off the coast of Thua Thien-Hue Province in rough seas caused by a tropical depression, said the National Steering Committee for Storm and Flood Control.

The fishermen set sail despite warnings from border soldiers and an order preventing boats from leaving harbour.

Yesterday, the tropical depression was 400km east of the coast of Khanh Hoa and Binh Thuan provinces.

Strong winds in the centre of the depression were measured at 39-61km per hour.

At 1pm today, the depression is expected to be at the latitude of 11.4 degrees north and the longitude of 108.9 degrees west, off the coast of Ninh Thuan and Ba Ria-Vung Tau provinces.

Due to the tropical depression, heavy rains and strong winds are still battering the central provinces and rough sea are expected to last for several days.

The National Steering Committee for Storm and Flood Control and the National Committee for Rescue and Research sent an urgent message requiring the provinces stretching from central Quang Binh to southern Kien Giang and other relevant agencies to implement preventive methods against the tropical low pressure.

Authorities in those provinces must control the movement of boats and broadcast regular weather forecasts.

Officials on off-shore oil rigs areas must also actively ensure the safety of people and property, said the committee.

Rescue teams are on standby.

Strong tides in HCM City hit 1.52m yesterday afternoon, higher than the peak of 1.49 m last November, said the city’s Irrigation Department

Meteorologists are concerned, as this is the first time the flood tides have topped 1.5m, and have asked citizens to prepare for possible flooding in the event dykes do not stand up to high water levels. Areas of concern in HCM City include district 12, Thu Duc, Binh Thanh, Hoc Mon and Cu Chi.

Severe cold spell

Northern Viet Nam is forecast to suffer four to five severe cold spells this January, with temperatures dropping below 15 degree Celsius, said Nguyen Lan Chau, deputy director of the Central Hydro-meteorology Forecast Centre. She noted that cold spells are arriving late this year, with each severe cold spell lasting from three to five days.

There will also be 10 less severe cold spells like the one affecting northern provinces now, said Chau.

Meteorologists said cold weather usually comes in mid-December, so with cold weather predicted until late January, the coming winter will probably last until May.

The cold weather will, however, not affect central and southern areas, expected to reach lows of 18-20 degrees Celsius from November until March.

Residents of mountainous areas like Lai Chau, Lao Cai provinces should be particularly careful this winter, said meteorologists, as temperatures may fall below three degrees Celsius. —VNS

Tropical depression, rough seas kill four

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