A tropical depression is forming and heading to the East Sea on December 29 afternoon. (Photo: nchmf.gov.vn)

Hanoi (VNS/VNA) - A tropical depression is forming and heading to the East Sea on December 29 afternoon, according to the National Centre for Hydro-meteorological Forecasting (NCHMF).

From December 28 until December 31, floods may occur at rivers between Thua Thien – Hue and Khanh Hoa provinces, with water levels in small rivers reaching alert level two. Low-lying and urban regions stretching from Quang Binh to Khanh Hoa may suffer flash floods and landslides.

On December 28 evening, the system was located some 250 kilometres southeast of central coastal areas of the Philippines, with strong winds moving at 50-60 kilometres per hour and gusting at level nine.

At 7pm of December 29, the tropical depression may move west-northwest, at 15-20 kilometres per hour, packing gale-force winds. It will then move westward late on December 30, entering the East Sea and probably strengthening into a storm, at alert level three. It is expected to hit southern Vietnam.

Strong winds are forecast out at sea, triggered by cold air masses. In the Tonkin Gulf and the northern East Sea, northeastern winds may strengthen to level seven, causing rough seas. The northeasterly wind will also blow strongly in coastal areas in the central and southern regions.

A cold spell hit many parts of the northern and north-central regions early December 28, and is expected to last a week, possibly causing sleet in the northern highlands. It may be the most extreme cold spell seen over the past decade.

Tran Quang Nang, head of the Weather Forecast Division at NCHF, said that the northern midland and mountainous region was the first place to experience the strong cold spell, along with medium to heavy rain.

Nang noted the cold spell will likely intensify on December 29 and 30, with temperatures dipping sharply. During these two days, the temperature in the provinces of the Northern Delta may fall to 8-11 degrees Celsius, while the mountainous regions will suffer very cold weather as low as 4-7 degrees Celsius, or even lower than 3 degrees Celsius at higher altitudes.

The cold spell may trigger frost and sleet in the northern mountainous areas during the coming two days.

The cold weather will impact the daily activities of local residents, especially those living in the mountainous and midland areas. People are advised to take extra steps to stay warm during the coming days.

As for the agriculture sector, Nang said farmers should adopt preventive measures to minimise the impact on plants and animals.

In Hanoi, the temperature may plummet this weekend to lower than 10 degrees Celsius, accompanied by torrential rain. Meanwhile, heavy downpours may appear in the central coastal city of Da Nang.

Rain and thunderstorms are in the forecast for Ho Chi Minh in the next three days, after which the rainfall will reduce. — VNS/VNA