Water dries up on a field in the south central coast province of Ninh Thuan (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – El Nino is forecast to continue its strong impacts in Vietnam in the first months of 2016 and abate in early summer.

Deputy General Director of the National Hydro-Meteorological Service Le Thanh Hai said El Nino began in late 2014 and wreaked havoc on the country in 2015.

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.

He also expected milder cold spells in January and February – the peak months of winter.

Hai predicted prolonged acute droughts in 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, he added.-VNA