Tropical Threat Looms for Vietnam, Far South China

By , Senior Meteorologist
July 30, 2013; 8:04 PM ET
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A tropical low that could become a tropical storm or typhoon has its sights set on Vietnam and far South China. Flooding rain is a serious concern regardless of any strengthening.

The tropical low spent this past weekend and Monday crawling across and soaking the Philippines.

Many places in the Philippines have recorded more than 75 mm (3 inches) of rain since Friday. Manilla measured 114 mm (4.47 inches) of rain from Friday through Sunday.

It will take until midweek for the low to depart the Philippines finally, leading to a general 50 to 75 mm (2 to 3 inches) of additional rain.

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Localized amounts of 150 mm (6 inches), as well as flash flooding and mudslides are possible, especially across central parts of the country and Luzon Island.

Once the low leaves the Philippines, it is expected to travel northwestward and reach China's Hainan Island or Leizhou Peninsula around Friday or Friday night.

Northern Vietnam or China's Guangxi province will be site of the low's final landfall 12 to 24 hours later.

As the low travels from the Philippines to Vietnam and China, the potential exists for it to strengthen into a strong tropical storm. It is not out of the question that the low will then become a minimal typhoon.

Regardless of its intensity, residents of far South China and northern Vietnam should prepare for widespread flooding rain. The same can be said for northern Laos, where the low may also track to as the weekend progresses. Meteorologist Eric Wanenchak expects a general 100 to 200 mm (4 to 8 inches) of rain in the path of the low later this week. Vietnam's capital of Hanoi is at risk of lying in this path.

Upwards of 300 mm (a foot) of rain could inundate the mountains, easily triggering mudslides.

Damaging winds, dangerous surf and coastal flooding would pose more dangers for residents if the low comes onshore as a strong tropical storm or minimal typhoon.

Wanenchak expects the worst of the storm to remain south of Hong Kong. The city may not escape some rain but should avoid any flooding.


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