Though super typhoon Saola is threatening Hong Kong and China’s Guangdong Province, meteorological agencies said it was less likely to enter the Gulf of Tonkin and affect mainland Vietnam. At 2 p.m. Friday, the typhoon’s center was in the northern waters north of the East Sea, about 250 km southeast of Hong Kong, with the strongest wind speed of 183 kph, according to the National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting.
In the next 24 hours, the typhoon is heading west-northwest at a speed of 10-15 kph. At 7 a.m. on Saturday, the storm’s center will be in the southern sea of Macau. The storm will then change its direction to the southwest at a speed of 10 kph. At 7 a.m. on Sunday, it will be in southwest coast of China’s Guangdong Province. According to forecasts from the Vietnamese meteorological agency, the storm will continue to weaken, with little possibility of entering the Gulf of Tonkin and affecting mainland Vietnam.
The Japan Meteorological Station said the typhoon was getting stronger, packing winds at 180 kph. In the coming hours, it will enter the mainland of Guangdong province, then follow the coast to Lei Chau Peninsula. The Hong Kong weather forecasting agency said Saola was at the super typhoon level, but after passing along the Chinese coast, it would decrease in intensity, and when it reached Lei Chau Peninsula, it would change direction and not enter the Gulf of Tonkin.
Influenced by the El Nino phenomenon, this year Vietnam is forecast to be less affected by storms compared to other years. From the second half of August to November, the East Sea will likely have five to seven storms and tropical depressions, of which two to three could directly affect Vietnam mainland. Hundreds of flights were canceled in China’s Guangdong and Hong Kong as Super Typhoon Saola moved closer to the mainland on Friday, forcing authorities to raise a strong storm warning and close businesses, schools and financial markets, Reuters reported.