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Severe flooding hits Vietnam ahead of Typhoon “Sarika”

vietnam-flood-october-2016

Severe flooding in Vietnam has resulted in deaths of at least 25 people and thousands of destroyed homes, authorities said Monday, October 17, 2016. This round of severe weather is still not over as the country is now bracing for further destruction with Typhoon "Sarika" moving closer. Northern provinces are on high alert as Sarika is expected to be Vietnam's biggest storm of the season.

Four people are still missing after the deluge, which destroyed or damaged more than 240 000 homes in several central provinces since Friday, October 14.

So far, the worst affected is the province of Quang Binh. At least 11 people have been killed there, crops destroyed and livestock washed away.

State-run media reported that at least one local hydropower plant suddenly released water from its reservoir, which contributed to some of the destruction over the weekend.

The government said it was looking into whether the Ho Ho hydropower plant in Ha Tinh province should have released the water without warning, RTE reported.

Around 500 000 people have been displaced.

Authorities said they may issue evacuation orders and a ban on ships going to sea ahead of Typhoon "Sarika".

On the current forecast track, Sarika will hit Vietnam around 06:00 UTC on October 19, 2016. Before it hits Vietnam, the typhoon will pass directly over China's Hainan Island.

Typhoon Sarika forecast track by JTWC at 09:00 UTC on October 17, 2016

Typhoon "Sarika" forecast track by JTWC at 09:00 UTC on October 17, 2016

Sarika made landfall in the province of Aurora, Philippines around 18:30 UTC on Saturday, October 15 (02:30 local time on October 16), causing at least two fatalities and prompting pre-emptive evacuations of more than 15 000 people. At least 3 people are reportedly missing. It had a maximum wind speed of 150 km/h (93.2 mph) before making landfall.

Strong winds and rain knocked down trees and power lines, causing power outages and floods in five provinces.

Roofs of many houses were ripped off, as the storm ripped through heavily populated agricultural provinces.

Meanwhile, the Philippines are about to get hit by another powerful typhoon, Haima. Haima had maximum sustained winds of 185 km/h (115 mph) and gusts to 231.5 km/h  (143.8 mph) at 06:00 UTC on October 17. This made it a Category 3 hurricane equivalent on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

Haima is tracking west-northwestward at 26 km/h (16.1 mph) and is expected to continue intensifying, reaching a Category 4 hurricane equivalent status within the next 12 hours.

Its center is expected to reach the Philippines within 72 hours.

Haima is expected to reach a peak of super typhoon intensity in the next 24 to 48 hours.

Current intensity forecast considers the scenario of close approach but no landfall.

Thereafter, the system will most likely turn toward mainland China.

Featured image: Vietnam flooding – October 2016 by Nguyen Quang Huy

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