The direction of typhoon PABUK (Source: National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting)

Hanoi (VNS/VNA) - Up to five cold spells are predicted to hit the northern region in January, according to the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting.

Downpours are expected in the entire central region while extreme weather events such as tornadoes and hailstorms could hit the Central Highlands and southern regions.

Average temperatures in different regions in January will be higher than those of previous years, by between 0.5 to 1 degree Celsius.

Total rainfall in the north will also experience an upward trend, mostly in the first half of the month, while the central region will see rainfall 20 to 50 percent higher than previous years.

Off-season rains will appear in the Central Highlands and southern regions on the first ten days of the year.

The first storm of 2019, internationally called Typhoon PABUK, formed in the southwest of the Spratly Islands on January 1.

At 13.00 on January 1, the storm’s eye was seen 450km southeast of Con Dao island. Wind speeds at the eye reached up to 75 km per hour. The storm is predicted to move west – southwest at 10 to 15km per hour and be 280km southeast of Con Dao island.

With the effects of the storm and extreme cold spells, strong winds are forecast to hit the western area of the East Sea, as well as seas of provinces from Quang Ngai to Binh Thuan and from Ba Ria – Vung Tau to Ca Mau.

Preparing for the upcoming storm, from 12:00 on January 1, the People’s Committee of Ca Mau province prohibited boats and ships from operating in the provincial sea.

Authorities of coastal provinces from Quang Ngai to Ca Mau and Kien Giang urged related agencies including rescue forces and media to track the storm’s movement, monitor ships and mobilise search and rescue teams in case of emergency.-VNS/VNA