Worst storm to hit South Korea threatens catastrophic destruction

Worst storm to hit South Korea threatens catastrophic destruction

South Korea is bracing for the worst storm in the country’s history, with Super Typhoon Hinnamnor predicted to hit its southern coastal regions next week.

The worst of the typhoon is predicted on Monday or Tuesday, when the weather system is expected to hit the resort island of Jeju and hit southern coastal cities including Busan and Ulsan, with landfall expected on Tuesday.

“We have never experienced a typhoon with this level of atmospheric pressure before, which is extremely worrying as the extent of damage could exceed our expectations,” Woo Jin-kyu, a meteorologist with the Korea Meteorological Administration, said during a briefing on Friday. .

Extremely strong winds and rain can cause typhoons and flooding, and the country must be prepared to prevent any catastrophic damage, Wu said.

The Met Office predicts that Hinnamnor will be even more destructive than Typhoon Sarah in 1959. More than 600 people died, 2,533 people were injured, and 249 billion won ($180 million) in property damage was caused by the storm, according to the National Archives of Korea.

As of 9 am Seoul time, the super typhoon was moving north-northwest at a speed of about 2 kilometers (1.24 miles) per hour, about 500 kilometers east of the coast of Taiwan. The storm has slowed in recent days and is currently blowing sustained winds of about 109 miles (175 kilometers) per hour with gusts of about 132 miles per hour, according to the US Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

State utility company Korea Electric Power Corp. said it had issued a warning because the typhoon could knock out the country’s power transmission facilities and equipment, and staff at Korea Southern Power Co. included in the emergency list.

Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. also takes safety measures to minimize the impact on nuclear reactors densely located in the southeastern part of the country.

South Gyeongsang Province near Busan said all of its schools will switch to virtual classes on Tuesday. China’s coastal provinces have also taken steps to prepare to shut down schools, factories, businesses and transport as needed.

Vessels in the regions are currently adjusting to the typhoon’s movements and many vessels are making detours. So far, this has not caused delays, although ships are increasing their fuel consumption, according to shipowners.

Japanese airline ANA Holdings Inc. canceled a total of 42 flights to and from the Okinawa region between Friday and Sunday due to the typhoon.

About the photo: Pedestrians walk in the rain brought by Typhoon Haishen in September 2020 in Seoul, South Korea. Photographer: Jung Sung-jun/Getty Images

Copyright 2022 Bloomberg.

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