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(LEAD) S. Korean central region under 49 days of rainy season, longest on record

All News 10:19 August 11, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details in last 5 paras; ADDS photo)

SEOUL, Aug. 11 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's annual rainy season has continued for 49 days now, the longest on record, and is poised to set a fresh record as more rains are forecast to pour down until mid-August.

The monsoon season, which has begun on June 24, tied the previous record of 49 days set in 2013, the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) said, and will continue until Aug. 16 in the capital Seoul, Gyeonggi Province and western Gangwon Province.

On the southern resort island of Jeju, the rainy season lasted for 49 days from June 10 to July 28, breaking the previous record of 47 days set in 1998.

Officials inspect a road partially swept away by torrential rain in Namwon, North Jeolla Province, on Aug. 10, 2020, in this photo provided by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)
Jamsu Bridge on the Han River in Seoul is flooded for the eighth day in a row on Aug. 10, 2020, amid continued heavy rains. (Yonhap)

The unusually extended rainy season is caused by climate change and the resulting warmer air that holds more moisture and brings heavier rain.

The seasonal rain, which has particularly pummeled the central region with heavy downpours in August, has taken a heavy toll. It has left 42 people dead or missing and damaged 17,958 facilities. Nearly 7,000 have been displaced from their homes.

Meanwhile Jangmi, the first typhoon to affect the country this season, made landfall on the southeastern island of Geoje on Monday afternoon, bringing heavy rain in the central and southern regions. It weakened to an extratropical cyclone at around 5 p.m., while moving over 10 kilometers northwest of nearby Ulsan. No major damage was reported.

The typhoon dissipated some 38 hours after it formed on Sunday in seas some 600 kilometers southwest of Okinawa, Japan.

This photo, taken on Aug. 10, 2020, shows a park along the Han River in Seoul, after the river bisecting the South Korean capital overflowed due to heavy rain. (Yonhap)

More precipitation is forecast for the central region and the provinces of North and South Jeolla and North Gyeongsang on Tuesday, partly due to a new typhoon, Mekkhala, which formed in the South China Sea the previous day, the agency said, adding that the storm is unlikely to pass through the Korean Peninsula.

As rains came down in buckets in Seoul and Gyeonggi Province overnight, causing the water level of the Han River to surpass the flood control limit of 4.4 meters, the city has blocked traffic at the Yeouido interchanges of the Olympic Expressway that connects the city and Gimpo and Hanam.

Earlier in the morning, the low-lying parts of Seongsu Intersection and Surak Underpass on the Dongbu Expressway were also made off-limits.

Landslide warnings have been issued in the northern wards of Nowon and Gangbuk and the eastern ward of Jungnang, and authorities ordered residents living on hillsides to evacuate to a sturdier place.

Early in the morning, torrential rain destroyed the roof of a house in Yeongdeungpo Ward, western Seoul, temporarily trapping a man in his 60s inside, before he was rescued unharmed. On Monday night, a two-story house in the central ward of Dongdaemun also collapsed. No one was injured.

The weather agency warned of continued strong rain in Seoul and its adjacent cities until night, asking people to remain vigilant against the inclement weather.

A farmer looks at rotten or crushed peaches at an orchard in Hwasun, South Jeolla Province, southwestern South Korea, on Aug. 10, 2020, after they fell due to torrential rain. (Yonhap)

jaeyeon.woo@yna.co.kr
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