Thousands of fishing vessels have headed for safe harbour as storms continue to lash the central provinces, damaging homes, washing away bridges, closing schools and forcing large scale relocations for several affected communities.

The storm was forecast to make landfall on the central coastal provinces of Quang Tri and Quang Nam on early September 19. By 3pm on September 18, wind speeds reached 62-74km per hour.

Rainfall of between 100-200mm and rough winds hit the central provinces, from Quang Binh to Binh Dinh, as well as the Central Highlands region.

Trees were up rooted in coastal areas of Da Nang where torrential rains and rough winds hit the area in the early morning of September 18.

According to the national forecasting centre, torrential rains will last for days, while sea levels from Quang Tri to Quang Ngai province will rise from 1.5m to 2m. Quang Nam and Quang Tri were predicted to feel the brunt of the storm winds.

Over 42,000 fishing vessels with 170,000 fishermen between Quang Binh to Khanh Hoa received warnings and were told to stay in safe shelters. On September 18, 600 fishing boats already docked at Tho Quang port in Da Nang city.

The city has 300 soldiers on alert for any search and rescue operations and all students in the city have been told to stay at home.

Quang Ngai province's Flood and Storm Prevention office said over 770 fishing boats and 7,000 fishermen were still working at sea; 19 vessels with 3,200 crew on board were operating in the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands .

A handful of old houses in the ancient town of Hoi An were supported to restrain the storm.

In Dak Lak province's Ea H'Leo district, floods in river and streams swept away nine houses, two bridges and destroyed three others while 57 properties were submerged in the floodwaters.

Landslides affected four villages on the Laos boarder while 258 households in Tay Giang district were moved away from the potentially dangerous sodden mountainsides.

In Quang Tri and Quang Binh provinces, over 6,000 fishing vessels have anchored safely.

A whirlwind in Vinh Linh and Trieu Phong districts damaged homes and blew off 22 roofs.

In Dong Ha city, households with elderly were moved to shelters while in Thua Thien-Hue a 150m section of sea dyke protection in Huong Tra town was completed just on September 18 but emergency plans to move 11,500 people out of flood areas if needed remain in place.

Deputy Director of the Song Tranh Hydropower Plant 2 Company Nguyen Van Lan said two turbines are working around the clock to limit water storage at the reservoir.-VNA