A low pressure zone in Vietnam’s East Sea, internationally known as the South China Sea, is likely to strengthen into a tropical depression by Saturday and could intensify to a storm.
The National Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting Center said on Friday that the depression will trigger heavy downpours in southern provinces over the weekend, with wind speeds projected to peak at 60 kilometers (37 miles) per hour.
A meteorologist who wished to remain anonymous told VnExpress it is possible that the depression will escalate to a storm and hit the entire south of Vietnam, including Saigon.
“HCMC and the south will be drenched in the final days of October and first days of November,” he said, recalling the tragedy when Storm Linda hit the south 20 years ago. “At this moment, even when a storm is formed and still weak, we cannot afford to ignore it.”
In 1997, Linda was first forecast to be a weak storm, but in just 36 hours, it grew bigger with wind speeds rising from around 50kph to over 100kph, killing 778 people and leaving more than 2,000 missing. It remains the biggest storm to hit the south in the past 100 years.
Vietnam has been suffering from destructive stormy weather once again this year. Floods in northern Vietnam killed at least 26 people and washed away hundreds of homes in August before Typhoon Doksuri, the strongest to hit the country in years, killed at least eight people in the central region last month.
Last year, tropical storms and flooding killed 264 people in Vietnam and caused damage worth VND40 trillion ($1.75 billion), nearly five times more than in 2015.