Storm Noul makes landfall in Vietnam, kills at least one person

HANOI, Sept 18 — Tropical storm Noul made landfall in Vietnam today, killing at least one person and triggering heavy rain in the central parts of the country, though authorities later downgraded the weather system.

The storm hit the tourist city of Danang and veered north to Thua Thien Hue province before entering Laos around noon today, state-run Voice of Vietnam said on its website.

The storm killed at least one person, injured another, while downing trees and damaging hundreds of houses, the report said.

Tuoi Tre newspaper said the man was killed by a falling tree and television footage showed flooded streets in some areas.

The government had previously made plans to evacuate up to half a million people when the storm was forecast to have wind speeds of up to 135km an hour.

The weather agency today downgraded Noul to a low pressure system, though warned it could still dump up to 250 mm of rain in parts of central Vietnam, potentially triggering floods and landslides.

State television VTV said that about 100 mm of rain fell in the Central Highlands, Vietnam's largest coffee growing area, but traders said it should not directly harm farms set to begin their harvest from next month.

"But if it rains heavily in November, beans picking and the drying process will be seriously affected," said a coffee trader based in the area.

Vietnam is prone to destructive storms and flooding due to its long coastline. Natural disasters - predominantly floods and landslides triggered by storms — killed 132 people and injured 207 others in the country last year.

Yesterday, authorities in some central provinces ordered vessels to stay in port and closed schools for the rest of the week, according to the government. — Reuters

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