​China & Vietnam - Typhoon Khanun

16 Oct 2017

Khanun has strengthened into a typhoon as it continues to track west-northwestward in the South China Sea. The storm has intensified more than previously forecast, and models indicate that Khanun will eventually reach maximum sustained winds of up to 139 kph (86 mph) before making landfall in the southern Leizhou Peninsula, Guangdong Province, late on October 15 or early October 16. The storm will weaken as it interacts with land; however, it will remain a weak typhoon as it enters the Beibu Gulf (Gulf of Tonkin) the morning of October 16. Khanun will turn again and track southwestward toward central Vietnam. Meteorologists predict the system will make a second landfall in Vietnam's Quang Binh Province as a tropical storm on October 17. 

Khanun has tracked further north and reached a greater intensity than previously forecast. The National Meteorological Center (NMC) has issued an orange typhoon warning - the second highest - for Guangdong and Hainan provinces. The typhoon is forecast to bring rainfall and strong wind gusts to the region. Rainfall of up to 200 mm (8 inches) is possible in coastal areas of Guangdong and northern Hainan, while 50-100 mm (2-4 inches) of precipitation is forecast in southern inland areas of both provinces through October 16. Flooding is likely in southern Guangdong and northern Hainan and may occur in southeastern areas of Guangxi. Storm surge will likely cause coastal flooding in eastern coasts of Hainan and the Leizhou Peninsula. In Hong Kong, officials have warned of potential flooding in low-lying areas of the city, as higher-than-normal waves and rainfall will coincide with the high tide the evening of October 15. Strong wind gusts could down trees and damage property and electricity infrastructure, potentially causing power outages in areas close to the storm's path. 

Ground transport disruptions will probably occur on October 16. Authorities suspended high-speed rail service on Hainan on Octber 15. As of October 15, Hong Kong authorities have altered MTR schedules in anticipation of the storm and could cancel above-ground services without notice. High winds may prompt the closure of the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Western Corridor (Shenzhen Bay Bridge); the Kap Shui Mun, Tsing Ma, Tsuen Wan, and Ting Kau bridges in Hong Kong; and the Humen Bridge over the Pearl River north of Shenzhen. Wind restrictions for high-profile vehicles are likely if these bridges remain open. 

Flight delays and cancellations are likely at Haikou Meilan International Airport (HAK) and Sanya Phoenix International (SYX), while some flight disruptions are possible at airports serving Hong Kong (HKG), Macau (MFM), Zhuhai (ZUH), and Shenzhen (SZX). Authorities will suspend ferry service across the Qiongzhou Strait separating Hainan and Guangzhou as the storm approaches. Ferry services between Hong Kong, Macau, and southern Guangdong are ceased as of mid-morning on October 15, though operations vary by company; maritime links to Ma Wan and Discovery Bay have been suspended. Disruptions may occur at offshore logistics centers, including the Chiwan Base, Zhuhai Jizhou Airport (ZGUH), and the Shenzhen Nantou Heliport (ZGNT). 

Khanun is forecast to make landfall in northern-central Vietnam, impacting the same provinces that were inundated by Tropical Depression 23W. Though the system will likely be a weak tropical storm or tropical depression as it crosses land, the system will bring strong winds near the center of circulation. Heavy downpours are likely, including in Haiphong and Hanoi, and will probably exacerbate flood conditions, as water levels remain high on several rivers in the region. Dam operators will likely initiate spilling operations to accommodate anticipated inflows, potentially triggering flooding along waterways before the storm arrives. Storm surge may also be a problem in coastal communities in the path of the storm. 

Moderate-to-severe disruptions to transport, power, and telecommunications are possible in northern-central Vietnam on October 17.

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