Seoul and Tokyo | Thu, August 10, 2023

South Korea authorities evacuated more than 10,000 people and closed schools in flood-hit areas as tropical storm Khanun swept over the peninsula on Thursday, having pounded southern Japan over the past week.

Khanun, a tropical storm that had been downgraded from a typhoon, made landfall on the southeast coast of South Korea and was making its way toward Seoul. Khanun might also hit Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, and according to official media there, the military and the governing party have been told to get ready for flood prevention measures and agricultural salvage.

Over 10,000 individuals in South Korea were relocated to safety, while 350 flights and 410 train routes were canceled, according to the interior ministry. There were no casualties reported. The storm produced maximum wind speeds of 126 kilometers per hour in the southeast port city of Busan and up to 60 mm of rain per hour in several east coast cities, according to the weather service.

As of 16:30 local time, Khanun was moving northward at a speed of 31 kph toward the greater Seoul area. It was passing the South Korean province of North Chungcheong. Kim Wi-jeong, a 33-year-old office worker who lives in the capital, expressed his concern that those who live in lowlands or depend on farming and fishing for a living will suffer.

The majority of schools were closed for the summer break, but the education ministry said that 1,600 of the 1,520 summer schools either closed or moved to remote learning as a result of the storm.

Floods and landslides affected a few schools in Gangwon, a province along the east coast. For the unfortunate 37,000 youths attending the World Scout Jamboree, the storm made their anguish even worse.

They were relocated to a safer location on Tuesday since their camping was in the storm’s path after enduring a scorching the previous week.

Intense monsoon rains last month killed more than 40 people, including 14 in a flooded tunnel, and the nation is still getting over them. Khanun was the first storm, according to Lee Hyun-ho, an atmospheric science professor at Kongju National University, to travel straight over the Korean peninsula.

He said that it has grown more potent due to rising sea surface temperatures. “The energy that storms may produce increases as temperatures rise. Thus, future typhoons are expected to be even stronger, according to Lee.

Parts of western Japan were still being pummeled by torrential rain, with some locations receiving far more rainfall in the previous week than is typical for August because to the storm’s humid air. As of Thursday morning, one town experienced 985 mm (38.78 inches) of rainfall.

Late on Wednesday, Typhoon Lan, another storm, was moving toward the Ogasawara Islands, roughly 1,000 kilometers south of Tokyo. The Tokyo area may be affected by the storm by the weekend’s conclusion, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency, despite the storm’s uncertain route. The inclement weather occurs during Obon, the largest summer vacation in Japan, when many people leave larger cities to travel back to their hometowns.

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