By Reuters, published by CNA, and Thai Newsroom
VIETNAM closed airports, announced curfews and urged thousands more people to evacuate today (Sept. 27) as intensifying Typhoon Noru barrelled towards the country, while the Thai Meteorological Department said it will weaken into a tropical storm when it slams Thailand on Thursday (Sept. 29).
Hundreds of flights in Vietnam were cancelled and thousands of people started to evacuate their homes in central provinces, in anticipation of one of the most powerful storms to hit the country in 20 years.
Wind speeds could reach 183 kph late today, the Vietnamese meteorological agency said, adding that Noru was expected to make landfall tomorrow before weakening and heading to Thailand.
At 4 p.m. today Thai weather experts said Typhoon Noru will weaken into a tropical storm as it moves through lower Laos then cover the lower Northeast of Thailand around Amnat Charoen and Ubon Ratchathani provinces on Thursday Sept. 29.
After that it further weakens into a depression and a strong low pressure cell respectively.
In addition, the southwesterly monsoon that prevails over the Andaman Sea, the South and the Gulf of Thailand is intensifying.
This results in heavy to very heavy rain accompanied with strong winds in some areas of the North, the Northeast, Central region, including Bangkok and its vicinity, Eastern and Southern regions.
People in Thailand were urged to beware of heavy to very heavy rain that could trigger flash floods especially on hillside, near waterways and marshy areas.
Meanwhile about 270,000 military personnel were placed on standby in Vietnam, as Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh urged authorities to expedite preparations.
“We don’t have much time left. The storm is intensifying so our responses must be stronger and faster,” he told an emergency meeting today.
The central provinces of Quang Ngai, where a major oil refinery is located, and Quang Nam, home to the World Heritage site of Hoi An, were expected to be the worst hit.
Footage from state television showed people fortifying their homes with bricks and sandbags in Quang Nam province, where a curfew was imposed and more than 133,000 residents were forced to leave their homes.
Local governments ordered curfews also in the popular tourist cities of Danang and Hue.
Authorities were racing to secure the country’s coffee-growing areas north of the Central Highlands region ahead of a typhoon the meteorological agency said was packing wind speeds of 134kmh to 149kmh early today.
“The storm is so strong that we’ve started feeling the impact even when it has not made landfall yet,” Mai Van Khiem, chief of Vietnam’s weather agency said, adding the most dangerous time would be a 10-12 hour period from late today.
Noru was the strongest storm to hit the Philippines this year and killed at least eight people when it made landfall on Sunday night, flooding farmland and communities and damaging an estimated 1.29 billion Philippine pesos (US$21.82 million) of crops, mainly rice.
Footage from a local broadcaster showed police cutting up fallen trees blocking roads in Quezon province, and residents sorting through debris with their hands.
About 46,000 people were sheltering in evacuation centres today and many more were left without electricity, the disaster agency said.
Top: Residents negotiate a flooded road due to Typhoon Noru in San Miguel town, Bulacan province, Philippines, yesterday, Sept. 26, 2022. Photo AP /Aaron Favila and published by Arkansasonline.com
First insert: Map showing Typhoon Noru’s path over the next two days. Credit VNA and published by Vietnam Plus
Second insert: A man consolidates the entrance of a hotel before Typhoon Noru slams Vietnam, in Danang today, Sept. 27, 2022. Photo: AFP/Nhac Nguyen and published by CNA
Front Page: A tattered Philippine flag is seen over a flooded road from Typhoon Noru in San Miguel town, Bulacan province, Philippines, yesterday, Sept. 26, 2022. Photo: AP/Aaron Favila and published by Accuweather