Illustrative photo (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The northern and north central region is likely to have cold weather during the Lunar New Year holiday, which lasts from Feb. 6 to 14, while fair weather is forecast for the southern region, the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting said on January 19.

Nguyen Dang Quang, head of the short- and long-term forecast section, said a cold wave is expected to affect the northern and central regions in early February, possibly bringing drizzles. The temperature will range from 14-22 degree C.

He said February will see four or five cold waves wrapping the northern region, with temperature at around the same level of the average year. The cold waves will also affect the northern part of the central region.

Head of the centre’s short-term forecast section informed that a strong cold wave will hit Hanoi on January 22, when the 12th National Party Congress is taking place. Temperature can drop to 9-10 degree C. The cold wave will last for about one week.

The centre’s director Hoang Duc Cuong told the press that El Nino began in late 2014 and wreaked havoc on the country in 2015. The phenomenon is forecast to continue its strong impacts in Vietnam in the first months of 2016 and abate in early summer.

It will cause fewer storms and tropical depressions in the East Sea and an average rainfall 25 – 50 percent less than in the previous years, especially in the central region, during the first half of 2016.

Temperatures in northern localities during the period will be 0.5 – 1 degree Celsius warmer than the traditional average while those recorded in the south will be 1 – 1.5 degree Celsius higher, he said, adding that January and February – the peak months of winter- will see milder cold spells.

Prolonged acute droughts are forecast for the central, Central Highlands and southern regions in the first months of this year. Meanwhile, water shortages are likely to occur in some northern localities, particularly in mountainous and midland areas.

In the dry season from late 2015 to early 2016, the amount of river water in the central and Central Highlands regions is forecast to be 20 – 40 percent lower than average. While in the south central coast, river levels will be 60 percent less and in the Mekong Delta, 20 – 40 percent less.

As a result, saltwater intrusion in the neighbourhood of southern river mouths will happen earlier and become more severe than in previous years.-VNA