Tropical Storm "Noul" strengthening ahead of landfall in central Vietnam, 548 000 people evacuating

Tropical Storm

Tropical Storm "Noul" formed in the Philippine Sea on September 15, 2020, as the 11th named storm of the 2020 Pacific typhoon season.

  • Noul is strengthening on its way toward landfall in central Vietnam on Friday, September 18.
  • More than 500 000 people are evacuating central provinces.
  • The government is mobilizing more than 300 000 people to help affected areas.

At 21:00 UTC on September 16, the center of Tropical Storm "Noul" was located about 770 km (480 miles) ESE of Da Nang, Vietnam.

It had maximum sustained winds of 85 km/h (50 mph), with gusts to 100 km/h (60 mph), and was moving WNW at 15 km/h (9 mph) over the past six hours. Maximum significant wave height at 18:00 UTC was 5 m (16 feet), according to the JTWC.

Tropical Storm "Noul" at 09:10 UTC on September 16, 2020. Credit: JMA/Himawari-8, RAMMB/CIRA

Noul is located in a favorable environment and is expected to steadily intensify as it tracks toward Vietnam.

Landfall is forecast around 06:00 UTC on Friday, September 18 in central Vietnam. The storm will then start weakening as it moves over Laos and Thailand.

JTWC expects it to dissipate over land by 21:00 UTC on September 19.

Image credit: JTWC

Vietnamese authorities are evacuating 107 000 families or 548 000 people from central provinces. 

According to Mai Van Khiem, director of Vietnam's National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting, the storm is expected to make landfall on Friday afternoon (LT) in central provinces, from Quang Binh to Da Nang, with maximum sustained winds of 135 km/h (85 mph).

This region has numerous popular tourism hotspots, including Son Doong Cave, Hoi An and Hue.

Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Thua Thien-Hue, and Da Nang City are expected to be heavily affected.

From September 17 to 18, central provinces from Quang Tri to Thua Thien-Hue can expect up to 400 mm (15.7 inches) of rain per day.

Authorities warned residents landslides are possible in mountainous areas and heavy flooding in urban areas.

Ministry of National Defense mobilized more than 300 000 people (soldiers, members of the police force, and civilian volunteers) to assist residents in affected areas.

Khiem said landfall will take place during the optimal high-tide period. Therefore, the devastation could be great.

Featured image: Tropical Storm "Noul" at 09:10 UTC on September 16, 2020. Credit: JMA/Himawari-8, RAMMB/CIRA

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