LAO CAI – Many northern provinces have been experiencing bitter cold, while snow has been falling heavily in many areas across the northern mountainous region due to a strong cold spell that has enveloped almost half of the country since Saturday.
Snow blanketed Sa Pa in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai yesterday and temperatures plunged to minus 5 degrees C on Saturday night, the lowest temperature in years. The temperature at Sa Pa was measured at 0 degrees C yesterday morning.
Local elderly people said this is the biggest snowfall they have seen in many years.
Freezing temperatures were also reported in other areas, such as minus 0.4 degrees C in Tam Dao(Phu Tho Province), minus 0.2 degrees C in Dong Van (Ha Giang Province) and minus 4 degrees C in Mau Son Mountain (Lang Son Province).
Sections of the national road 4D from O Quy Ho Pass (Sa Pa District) to Tam Duong District (Lai Chau Province) have been blanketed with snow and a centimetre of ice, posing danger to traffic.
Snow was also seen in higher-altitude areas, including Khau Pha Pass in Mu Cang Chai district, Suoi Giang Commune in Van Chan and Hat Luu and Tram Tau communes in Tram Tau District.
In Ha Noi, the highest temperature yesterday was forecast at 7 to 10 degrees C. Snow has also been seen in Ba Vi District, which is about 50km from Ha Noi.
The cold spell has expanded as far south as the central localities, bringing rain to most areas along the central coast.
Snowfall began after the temperature plummeted overnight, with thick ice and frost appearing on Phja Oac peak in the northern mountainous province of Cao Bang.
The temperature was recorded at negative 7 degrees Celsius on Saturday morning on the wintry white mountain peak.
The rare appearance of snow attracted some tourists who came to see the winter frost, but it also negatively impacted the locals’ activities.
According to Chairman of the Thanh Cong commune’s People’s Committee Ban Van Son, severe frost has damaging consequences to agricultural production, and it also poses health risks.
Authorities have urged locals to take several measures to cope with the cold weather.
Mong ethnic minority families in Sa Pa have taken measures to protect their cattle and crops from damage caused by the cold snap.
The cold front moving from the northern region may also reduce temperatures in HCM City and neighbouring provinces to as low as 17-18 degrees Celsius this weekend and early next week.
The ongoing cold snap has also triggered strong sea gusts, posing serious hazards to boats.
The Tonkin Gulf and sea off central and southern provinces and the entire East Sea, including the waters around Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratly) and Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelagoes, have witnessed rough seas and fierce winds.
The cold snap, expected to last until Wednesday, has also greatly affected localities in the central region, causing temperatures to drop to 10.4 and 12.4 degrees Celsius in Vinh City, the heart of Nghe An Province, and Ha Tinh Province, respectively.