THE Thai Meteorological Department issued a warning at 10 a.m. today (Oct. 27) that Category 5 Typhoon Molave is now 675 kilometres southeast of Da Nang city, Vietnam, and will make a landfall there tomorrow before downgrading to Category 3 tropical storm and entering Thailand.
Molave, with its maximum sustained winds of about 155 km/hr, is currently moving westwards with the speed of 25 km/hr.
At the same time the westerly winds across the Andaman Sea, the South and the Gulf will strengthen bringing about isolated heavy rain to very heavy rain with strong winds in upper Thailand. Especially in the lower Northeast.
Meanwhile more than one million Vietnam residents are to be evacuated ahead of Typhoon Molave, Maura Kelly, an AccuWeather meteorologist, said.
Typhoon Molave displaced more than 100,000 in the Philippines over the weekend as it lashed the country with fierce winds and torrential rain. Now, the storm is following a path that has been forged by numerous storms before and is tracking toward areas in Vietnam that have faced three named tropical systems already this month.
As the storm traverses the South China Sea over the next few days, it will be located in an area of low wind shear. And despite the numerous storms that have tracked over this part of the Pacific, the ocean waters remain warm. This environment will allow Typhoon Molave to continue to strengthen.
Officials are preparing to evacuate 1.3 million residents along the coast of central Vietnam, according to Reuters. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc also urged provinces in the typhoon’s path to prepare by bringing boats ashore.
The prime minister also stated that the military will be on standby to support residents and provide transportation with tanks and helicopters if needed.
Molave will be the fourth named tropical system to make landfall over Vietnam since Oct. 11, according to AccuWeather Lead International Meteorologist Jason Nicholls. It will also be the country’s sixth landfalling storm this year.
Nicholls expects Molave to strike southern Vietnam as the equivalent of a Category 2 hurricane in the Atlantic and East Pacific basins. Maximum sustained wind speeds of 135-154 km/h (84-96 mph) are expected with a storm of this strength.
“Wind gusts of 129-160 km/h (80-100 mph) are possible near landfall in central Vietnam on Wednesday,” stated Nicholls. He added that an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 195 km/h (120 mph) will be most likely near the storm’s centre.
While the wind threat will wane by Wednesday night and Thursday, local time, as the storm rapidly weakens over the rugged terrain of the region, heavy rainfall will persist into the end of the week across Indochina.
“Rainfall across central Vietnam will reach at least 100-200 mm (4-8 inches) in an area near and north of landfall,” Nicholls added. “There will be an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 400 mm (16 inches), most likely in Vietnam, potentially in areas that have already received extreme rainfall and flooding in October.”
Due to the copious amounts of rainfall across central Vietnam and surrounding areas in recent weeks, widespread flooding is expected from Molave. Additional rainfall from this typhoon will destabilize mountain slopes across the region, increasing the risk for mudslides.
While widespread flooding is expected from this system, Molave’s quick pace over the peninsula will keep rainfall totals from climbing even higher.
Top: This satellite image shows Typhoon Molave traversing the South China Sea on Monday night, local time. CIRA/RAMMB
All images by AccuWeather.com