The National Hydro Meteorological Forecasting Centre has warned that the tropical depression moving west-southwestwards at 10 km an hour in the East Sea, close to the Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands is likely to develop into a storm within the next 24 hours.
By 7 am today (Feb 19), the depression is expected to move west-southwestwards at 10 km an hour and by noon it will be 190 km west-northwest of Truong Sa, by which time it is expected to turn into a storm with winds of 50-60 km per hour and gusts of level eight or nine.
It is anticipated that by 7 am of Feb 20, the centre of the storm will be in the East Sea and 130 km north-northwest from Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands.
The depression, the first to occur in February in Vietnam in the past 20 years, has caused rough seas in the middle and south of the East Sea, including the coastal areas between Binh Thuan and Ca Mau Provinces.
It has also brought unseasonal rains in many southern provinces and cities, including Bien Hoa, Da Lat, Phu Quoc, Can Tho, Hau Giang and Ho Chi Minh City, with rainfall between 7 to 20 mm.
The Central Steering Committee for Flood and Storm Prevention and Control, and the National Search and Rescue Committee have instructed their local units in the coastal regions from Quang Ngai to Ca Mau to take all precautionary measures to cope with the storm.
Coastal authorities must inform all boats out at sea about the development of the depression, so they can avoid or leave the affected areas to seek shelter in time, the two agencies warned.