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(2nd LD) S. Korea on high alert as powerful typhoon approaches

All News 22:05 September 01, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS N. Korea's preparatory steps in last 3 paras, photo)

SEOUL, Sept. 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's provincial governments are on high alert Tuesday as another typhoon forecast to be more powerful than one that hit the country last week is approaching the country and expected to affect their regions.

According to the Korea Meteorological Administration, Typhoon Maysak was traveling north-northeastward at a speed of 16 kilometers per hour from waters some 220 kilometers west of Japan's Okinawa Island as of 3 p.m.

This image, provided by the Korea Meteorological Administration, shows the expected route of Typhoon Maysak as of 3 p.m. on Sept. 1, 2020. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The central pressure of the season's ninth typhoon was 935 hectopascals, with its radius of maximum wind at 380 km and its maximum wind speed at 49 meters per second.

The weather agency predicted the typhoon will come close to Jeju Island on Wednesday before landing along the south coast of South Gyeongsang Province early Thursday.

It will move further north to pass through cities like Busan, Ulsan and Gyeongju before moving back to waters along the east coast on Thursday evening, according to the weather authorities.

At its peak, the typhoon could bring powerful winds with speeds of up to 180 kilometers per hour, the agency said, adding that Maysak may be stronger in force than Typhoon Bavi, which hit the country last week.

As the typhoon is approaching the Korean Peninsula, the entire South Korea is likely to come under its influence by Thursday. It was forecast to start raining on Jeju Island and in South Jeolla Province on Tuesday. Heavy rains of up to 400 millimeters and strong wind have also been predicted for the entire country between Wednesday and Thursday.

As of 6 p.m., the central disaster management headquarters raised the storm and flood warning by one notch to the third-highest level of "orange" on its four-tier scale, and heightened its emergency response mode to the second-highest stage on the three-tier scale.

The Korea Forest Service also raised the landslide warning for Jeju to "orange," and put 16 other metropolises and provinces across the country on the second-highest "yellow" level.

Several regional governments, especially in southern regions where the impact of the typhoon was expected to be hardest, are also bracing for the arrival of Maysak.

The province government of Jeju is stepping up security inspection of some 90 high-risk facilities in cooperation with the coast guard, including ports, while putting patrol ships on standby for an emergency dispatch.

Fishing boats are moored at Jeju Island's Seogwipo port on Sept. 1, 2020, as the powerful Typhoon Maysak approaches the Korean Peninsula. (Yonhap)

The city of Busan plans to activate its emergency disaster response team upon Maysak's landfall. It is also increasing its inspection of facilities vulnerable to landslides and other typhoon aftereffects.

The government of South Gyeongsang Province also entered into an emergency mode as its coastal cities could be prone to menacing tidal waves.

"Officials should prioritize the prevention of casualties and do their best to ensure anti-disaster measures operate properly," Interior and Safety Minister Chin Young said, calling for citizens to follow the government's related guidelines to minimize damage.

High waves crash onto Songjeong Beach in Busan on Sept. 1, 2020, as Typhoon Maysak approaches the Korean Peninsula. (Yonhap)
Heavy clouds are in the air over the Port of Busan on Sept. 1, 2020, as the powerful Typhoon Maysak approaches the Korean Peninsula. (Yonhap)

North Korea is also on alert as the typhoon is forecast to affect the country still reeling from the aftermath of Typhoon Bavi and recent heavy downpours.

According to the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the country has put in place various measures to minimize damage. Officials have inspected buildings, streets and railways, and checked their water drainage and electrical facilities.

Workers of the party and the government have launched intensive projects to raise awareness about the importance of preventive measures and crisis management methods, KCNA said.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (2nd from R) inspects an area damaged by Typhoon Bavi in South Hwanghae Province, in this photo released by the Korean Central News Agency on Aug. 28, 2020. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

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graceoh@yna.co.kr
(END)

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