Despite earlier forecasts that Typhoon Rai would weaken as it moves closer to Vietnamese shore, the storm has regained its strength to become a super typhoon.
At around 9 a.m. Sunday, the typhoon was about 205 km away from the central province of Binh Dinh and 200 km away from Phu Yen to the east, according to the National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting.
Its maximum wind speed is at 165 kph. Within the next three hours, the typhoon would move northwest at 15-20 kph.
Earlier this morning, when the storm was about 260 km away from the shores of Binh Dinh-Khanh Hoa, it gained strength and became a Category 5 storm (classified as having a wind speed of over 252 kph), according to the Tropical Storm Risk website by the University College London in the U.K.
Rai is expected to sustain its strength as it reaches about 150 km away from the shores of Quang Ngai-Phu Yen, before switching direction to the north-northwest and weaken to a Category 4 storm (classified as having a wind speed between 209 and 251 kph).
Strong winds and rough seas should be expected in regions like Thua Thien-Hue, Da Nang, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh and Phu Yen until Monday. Rain levels up to 150 mm should be expected on Sunday in regions from Thua Thien-Hue to Phu Yen, according to the National Center.
Rai, the ninth storm to appear on the South China Sea this year, reached the level of a super typhoon when it hit the Philippines, before weakening and strengthening itself again. International forecasters did not expect that the typhoon would regain its former strength when it entered sea regions in south central Vietnam.
At least 75 people in the Philippines have been killed in Typhoon Rai, the strongest one to hit the country this year, AFP reported.