Trees are uprooted in Mong Cai, Quang Ninh Province, upon storm Wipha's landing on August 2, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Minh Cuong.
At 4 a.m. Saturday, the tropical depression was raging along the coast from Quang Ninh, home to the world famous Ha Long Bay, and neighboring port city Hai Phong with maximum wind speeds of 60 kilometers (37 miles) per hour.
Over the next 12 hours, the depression will continue moving in a west-southwest direction before forming a low-pressure zone to the south of the Red River Delta.
Hai Phong started to receive heavy downpours that flooded many streets on Saturday morning.
Mong Cai Town in Quang Ninh received heavy rainfall of up to 209 mm on Friday night, causing flooding on several streets, uprooting trees. Rainfall of 180 mm a day is considered heavy.
"There has been no substantial damage in the town," said Nguyen Van Kinh, chairman of Mong Cai.
Weather forecasters warned there will be strong winds and waves of around three meters in the Gulf of Tonkin, including coastal areas in Quang Ninh and Hai Phong over the next 24 hours.
The storm edged close to China’s southern coast, causing heavy rains earlier this week.
Hong Kong on Wednesday raised a tropical cyclone signal eight, its third highest level, closing schools and financial markets.
Vietnam’s weather station said the storm would bring heavy rain until Sunday, with the northern and north-central regions receiving downpours of 100-300mm and the northeastern region and the northern province of Thanh Hoa, 200-400mm.
Rainfall of 180 mm a day is considered heavy.
Hanoi is forecast to get 100-200mm of rain starting Friday afternoon, with some areas receiving over 250mm of rain. The capital is only capable of handling 120mm of rain per hour.
The provinces of Quang Ninh, Thai Binh and Nam Dinh and Hai Phong started banning vessels from going out to sea on Thursday and evacuated people.
Fourteen fishing vessels from the central province of Quang Binh lost contact on Thursday while looking to take refuge from the storm near China’s Hainan Island.
A search for them has begun.
Wipha was the third storm to brew this year over the East Sea, internationally known as the South China Sea. Vietnam is hit by up to 10 tropical storms during the monsoon season between July and October. This year the number is expected to be four.
There were nine storms last year.
Storm Mun hit the northern and central regions in June, killing two in Thanh Hoa.
Natural disasters, mostly floods, storms and landslides, killed 181 people last year and left 37 others missing and caused losses of around VND20 trillion ($858 million).