Powerful typhoon approaches Korea

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Korea is on high alert as powerful Typhoon Soulik is set to batter the country with downpours and thunderstorms over the next few days.

It is forecast to become the first typhoon in six years to make landfall on the Korean Peninsula Thursday night and pass through by Friday morning, the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) said. The government has launched an emergency response team to deal with fallout from the typhoon and minimize damage it may cause.

The southern resort island of Jeju ― in the path of the typhoon ― is forecast to come under its direct clout from Wednesday evening. As of 9 a.m. Wednesday, the typhoon, classified as “medium sized” but “strong,” was 340 kilometers west-northwest of Jeju and moving northwest at 19 km/h to advance to 90 kilometers west-southwest of Jeju by 3 a.m. Thursday. A typhoon warning was issued for waters off Jeju early Wednesday, barring the departure of vessels and alerting those at sea to use extra caution. Up to 400mm of rain, coupled with powerful winds, would hit the island, the KMA warned. This could flood low-lying coastal areas and ground airplanes. Dozens of schools on the island have been shut.

After skirting Jeju, Soulik is expected to turn northeast to make landfall somewhere near Boryeong, a west-coast town in South Chungcheong Province, Thursday night. It will pass through Seoul and the metropolitan area that night and advance to the East Sea by Friday morning.

Beginning Thursday, about 50 to 100 mm of rain will fall in Seoul and Gyeonggi, Gangwon, South Chungcheong and North Jeolla provinces, while Gyeongsang and North Chungcheong provinces will receive 30 to 80 mm of rain.

“Virtually the entire peninsula will bear the brunt of the typhoon,” a KMA official said. “We advise people, especially children and the elderly, to stay at home and avoid visiting submerged and low-lying areas.”

Despite the rainfall, hot temperatures will persist throughout the country. Daytime highs for Wednesday should reach 35 degrees Celsius in Seoul, 34C in Incheon, 36C in Suwon, 31C in Gangneung, 35C in Cheongju, 35C in Sejong, 35C in Gwangju, 34C in Daegu and 32C in Busan. Tropical nights also will continue through Friday.

 

By Park Si-soo

(Korea Times)

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