Vietnam is forecast to continue being battered by extreme weather this year after a range of unusual weather phenomena appeared recently.

"We'd rarely seen dense frequency of storms and tropical low-pressure systems attacked the country like last year," said Director of the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting Bui Minh Tang.

According to the centre, as many as 14 storms and five tropical low-pressure systems were reported in Vietnam in 2013. This was the highest number within five decades.

A rarely-seen snowfall blanketed northern mountainous Lao Cai province's Sa Pa town in the middle of last December up to 50cm – the thickest within 50 years, Tang said.

Local residents in northern provinces sometimes suffered daily temperatures of 32 degree Celsius during Tet (Lunar New Year), the summer-season temperature during the winter-spring time, he added.

The unusual hot weather caused disruption to the country's forestry production.

Findings from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development showed that fire destroyed over 13ha of forest nationwide in January only, 47 percent higher than the same period last year.

Tang said that this year his centre would multiply a very short range forecasting system to predict approaching rainstorms several hours before they reach Hanoi and Hai Phong city after a model was piloted to forecast every one hour when strong storms battered the country in 2013.

Nguyen Van Hiep, head of the Centre of Meteorological and Climate Prediction, said that drought, strong storm, torrential rain and sea-level rise would hit the country with higher frequency as well as with strong intensity in the future.

The number of hot days was predicted to rise from 30 to 45 each year, especially in the southern region, he added.

Icy weather was forecast to hit northern provinces this month, but it would not prolong, he said.

This month, rainfall would reduce by half compared to the same period last year in northern mountainous areas, Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) and southern region.

It would be about 5-25mm in northern mountainous Son La province and Hanoi; and10-20mm in northern Hai Phong city and central Thanh Hoa province. In the meantime, it would be only 10mm in the Central Highlands and southern region.-VNA