Tropical Storm Mirinae barrels across southwest China

Damaging winds and flooding rains hit Hainan province before heading towards northern Vietnam.

    Tropical Storm Mirinae has hit China's Hainan province with damaging winds and flooding rains. It is the third tropical storm to hit China this year and is set to become the first, so far, to hit Vietnam.

    Mirinae is currently 180km to the southeast of Hanoi out in the open waters of the Gulf of Tonking. It is moving westwards at around 25km per hour (kph), with sustained winds of 65kph and gusts approaching 80kph.

    According to the Hainan Provincial Meteorological Observatory, the storm developed in the South China Sea over the weekend and made landfall in Wanning in Hainan around 05:00 GMT on Tuesday.

    The winds touched 100kph, and were strong enough to uproot trees and bring down some power lines, causing some travel disruption in the process.

    There were no reports of any casualties. According to local authorities, more than 3,000 people were evacuated from their homes ahead of the storm which cleared Hainan late on Tuesday.

    Air travel at the Haikou Meilan International Airport and Sanya Phoenix International Airport is now back to normal. The bullet trains across Hainan are expected to resume operation shortly.

    Passenger ships across the Qiongzhou Strait, between Hainan and Guangdong provinces, are still suffering delays. Meanwhile, more than 25,000 fishing vessels in Hainan had been anchored in the harbour.

    Mirinae is expected to strengthen slightly as it approaches north Vietnam, and it is forecast to make landfall near Hai Phong and Thanh Hoa around 15:00 GMT on Wednesday.

    The National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting said the storm will cross the Northern Delta over the evening, where it is expected to weaken to a low pressure system.

    The winds from Tropical Storm Mirinae are not expected to cause too many problems, but the heavy rain associated with the system is likely to cause widespread flooding across many parts of northern Vietnam.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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