Etau makes landfall over Vietnam as Vamco threatens major impacts on Philippines

Adam Douty

Tropical systems Etau and Vamco threaten to bring more damage to parts of Vietnam and the Philippines that have already weathered several tropical systems, including typhoons, this year.

Etau made landfall near Nha Trang, along the south-central coast of Vietnam on Tuesday, local time, as a tropical storm.The storm quickly weakened into a tropical depression over the mountainous terrain and will continue to dissipate through the second half of the week.

This satellite image from Tuesday night, local time, shows Etau (left) moving inland over Indochina and Severe Tropical Storm Vamco (right) approaching the northern Philippines. (CIRA/RAMMB)

The rain that arrived ahead of Etau is also expected to continue into the middle of the week, well after the system has dissipated.

Rain totals of 50-100 mm (2-4 inches) are expected to be widespread across central and southern Vietnam, southern Laos and eastern Cambodia. Higher rainfall totals on the order of 8-12 inches (200-300 mm) will mainly target the south-central coast of Vietnam and the central highlands. An AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 18 inches (450 mm) will be most likely in these areas.

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AccuWeather Lead International Meteorologist Jason Nicholls warned, "This amount of rainfall can trigger mudslides in the rugged terrain and renew flooding across the region."

Portions of central Vietnam received 1,270-2,540 mm (50-100 inches) during October, which led to widespread and deadly flooding.

While the flood threat from Etau will continue, the potential for wind damage is over now that the storm has moved inland and has become disorganized.

A wind gust of 65 km/h (40 mph) was reported in Nha Trang, located just south of where the center of the storm moved inland. Wind gusts may have reached higher levels on the northern side of the storm.

Due to the potential for widespread flooding in Vietnam, Etau is a 1 on the AccuWeather RealImpact™ Scale for Tropical Cyclones. The RealImpact™ Scale is a 6-point scale with ratings of less than 1 and 1 to 5 that is used to classify tropical systems based on wind speed, rainfall amounts, and coastal flooding, as well as economic factors.

Meanwhile, Vamco is a severe tropical storm in the Philippine Sea and may threaten major impacts as a typhoon during the middle of the week.

AccuWeather meteorologists warn that Vamco will track within a region of light wind shear and warm ocean water, ingredients that tropical cyclones need to strengthen.

As a result, Vamco may quickly strengthen into the equivalent of a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, with maximum sustained winds of 154-176 km/h (96-109 mph).

Vamco can approach the northern Philippines with winds of this intensity on Wednesday. This can lead to another round of widespread damage across areas already battered by tropical systems during the past few weeks. Should Vamco maintain this intensity until landfall, an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ wind gust of 225 km/h (140 mph) is possible on the Polillo Islands.

During the end of October and early November, Typhoon Molave and Super Typhoon Goni both tracked across the northern Philippines, leading to widespread damage and dozens of deaths.

In addition to damage threatened by intense winds, heavy rain across central and northern Luzon can produce life-threatening flash flooding. Even well away from the center of the storm, 150-300 mm (6-12 inches) of rain can produce flash flooding and mudslides in much of eastern Luzon. An AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 16 inches (400 mm) is expected.

Flooding rain and locally damaging winds may also impact Manila from late Wednesday night into Thursday as the center of Vamco passes near or just to the north of the city.

After tracking across the Philippines during the middle of the week, Vamco is expected to track to the west and bring impacts to Vietnam by the weekend, potentially bringing another round of strong winds and flooding rainfall to the hard-hit country.

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