Flooding, landslides plague Vietnam as Tropical Storm Saudel makes landfall in the Philippines

Maura Kelly
·3 min read

Parts of Vietnam are still reeling from an onslaught of tropical systems in recent weeks that have worsened ongoing flooding in the country. Now, AccuWeather meteorologists say another storm may target the country after bringing flooding rainfall and gusty winds to the Philippines.

At least 102 people have been killed in total by the recent flooding and landslides, while more than 90,000 have been forced to evacuate their homes, The Guardian reports.

On Sunday, rescue operations were underway as multiple landslides buried a military barracks in Vietnam's central province of Quang Tri, according to the BBC. At least 11 bodies have been recovered so far.

Search and rescue efforts were even paused for a time on Sunday as heavy rain returned to the area and increased the risk for additional landslides.

Flooded villages are seen in Quang Tri province, Vietnam, October 13, 2020. Ho Cau/VNA via REUTERS.

Thousands of hectares of ponds and land used for agriculture have been destroyed and hundreds of thousands of cattle and poultry have been swept away in the floodwaters.

Hue, a city located in the province to the south of Quang Tri, has reported 2,265 mm (89.17 inches) of rainfall since the beginning of October. The city typically reports 757 mm (29.80 inches) of rain for the month.

Footage from AFP showed just how high floodwaters had reached in Hue with water entering houses and disrupting other normal everyday activities.

The central Vietnam city is closing in on a monthly rainfall total near what is normally reported in an entire year: 2,798 mm (110.20 inches) of rain.

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Rounds of downpours are forecast to continue across northern and central Vietnam into the middle of the week. Then, a drier air mass is expected to approach on a southward journey from China.

This break in the onslaught of rain may be short-lived for the flood-ravaged region. AccuWeather forecasters are monitoring a tropical storm that could follow a path toward Vietnam this week.

A satellite view of Tropical Storm Saudel as it neared landfall over Luzon in the northern Philippines on Tuesday night, local time. (CIRA/RAMMB)

A tropical depression formed to the east of the central Philippines on Monday, local time, and strengthened to a tropical storm as it drew closer to the country on Tuesday. The tropical storm is designated as Saudel by the Japan Meteorological Agency, and is known as Pepito in the Philippines.

At 9 p.m., local time, on Tuesday, the tropical storm made landfall near over San Ildefonso Peninsula in Casiguran, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.

AccuWeather Lead International Meteorologist Jason Nicholls stated that the heaviest rainfall is expected across northern Luzon and the higher terrain, where 200-400 mm (8-16 inches) of rain is expected. This is also where the AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 24 inches (600 mm) is most likely to occur.

Widespread rainfall totals of 50-100 mm (2-4 inches) are in the forecast for the rest of the northern Philippines.

As the system emerges over the South China Sea, it will return to an environment conducive for additional strengthening.

As warm water and low wind shear allow the storm to gain strength through the end of the week, it may follow a track toward Indochina, one that was also forged by Linfa and other disorganized tropical features in recent weeks.

This would bring yet another round of torrential rainfall to parts of Vietnam by the weekend.

However, if the track shifts to the north, more widespread impacts may be in the forecast for Hainan, located in southern China. This island took a direct hit from Tropical Storm Nangka on October 13.

Residents across southern China should monitor Tropical Storm Saudel through the week as a northerly could bring the heaviest rain and strongest wind to the region.

Keep checking back on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.