Tropical Storm Noul brews in South China Sea
Winds picked up in Pensacola Beach, Florida, on Sept. 15 as Hurricane Sally inched closer and closer to the Gulf Coast.
Areas from southern China to Indochina will be on alert this week as a strengthening tropical system targets the area.
A broad area of low pressure that tracked across the Philippines to start the week, emerged over the warm waters of the South China Sea and organized into a tropical depression on Tuesday, local time.
By Tuesday night, it had strengthened into Tropical Storm Noul and will track to the west through the end of the week, threatening parts of southeast Asia with flooding rainfall and strong winds.
The storm is expected to track westward across the South China Sea into Indochina by the end of the week.
In the Philippines, this feature is known as Tropical Storm Leon.
While the storm will track across warm waters, one ingredient needed for tropical systems to develop and strengthen, it is not expected to rapidly intensify.
Moderate wind shear across the southern South China Sea will limit how much Noul is able to strengthen. Forecasters currently think that Noul will remain below typhoon status.
This satellite loop shows Noul, known as Leon in the Philippines, spinning over the South China Sea Thursday evening, local time. (CIRA/RAMMB)
AccuWeather Lead International Meteorologist Jason Nicholls forecasts that the storm will continue to track to the west-northwest through the end of the week and will strike Vietnam as a tropical storm on Friday.
Damaging wind gusts and coastal flooding will occur, mainly near and to the north of the center of the storm as it approaches the Vietnam coast.
While some rain bands are expected to bring rounds of downpours and strong winds to Hainan in southern China, Noul will bring more significant impacts to Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand.
Widespread rainfall totals of 100-150 mm (4-6 inches) are expected from this storm with 200-250 mm (8-10 inches) of rain in the mountainous terrain. An AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 400 mm (16 inches) will be possible across central Vietnam and southern Laos.
This amount of rainfall as the storm tracks inland can lead to flooding and mudslides.
Wind gusts along the coast of central Vietnam, including in and surrounding Hué, are expected to reach 65-95 km/h (40-60 mph), with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 115 km/h (70 mph). This will be strong enough to lead to widespread power outages as well as downed tree and minor structural damage.
The threat for wind damage will quickly lessen as Noul tracks inland and away from the coast.
AccuWeather forecasters will continue to monitor Noul into the beginning of next week since what is left of the system after tracking over land is expected to emerge over the Bay of Bengal and can bring impacts to India.
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