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(3rd LD) S. Korea on alert over Typhoon Haishen, heavy rain forecast; landslide warning issued

All News 17:58 September 06, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES throughout)

SEOUL, Sept. 6 (Yonhap) -- South Korea remained on alert Sunday as a powerful typhoon, Haishen, has been marching northward amid a forecast that it will soon affect the peninsula directly.

The 10th typhoon of the season is expected to reach waters between the southern island of Jeju and the Kyushu region of Japan on Monday morning, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA).

It's then likely to head north over the East Sea, although it was initially expected to land on the peninsula.

Haishen was travelling northward at a speed of 31 kilometers per hour in waters about 200 km south-southwest of Japan's Kagoshima prefecture as of 5 p.m. Sunday, KMA said.

Heavy rains and strong winds are forecast across South Korea throughout Monday, it added.

Waves roar in waters off the coast of Jeju Island on Sept. 6, 2020, as Typhoon Haishen approaches the peninsula. (Yonhap)
This file photo shows citizens walking on a street amid rain and strong wind. (Yonhap)

The state weather agency said the typhoon is likely to reach an area about 310 km east of Seogwipo City on Jeju at 3 a.m. on Monday and waters 80 km east-northeast of South Korea's southeastern port city of Busan at 9 a.m. on the same day.

It is expected to reach waters about 90 km east of Gangneung in Gangwon Province at 3 p.m. on Monday and waters about 120 km south of Chongjin in North Korea at 9 p.m. on the same day.

President Moon Jae-in instructed the government and provincial authorities to thoroughly prepare to prevent damage from the typhoon.

"The safety of citizens must be prioritized," Moon was quoted by his spokesman, Kang Min-seok, as saying.

The president called for preventive measures, such as restricting access to coastal areas and underground roads, to avoid damage to people, particularly in regions that were battered by the previous typhoon, Maysak.

"There should not be any loophole in safety checks in industrial grounds, including port facilities, and in our measures to move ships to safe areas," he said.

KMA officials called for thorough measures against possible rain and gale damages. They also warned of high waves in southern and eastern seas as well as waters near Jeju.

The Korea Forest Service (KFS) raised the landslide alert to "seriousness," the highest in the four-tier system, for Jeju, Busan, Ulsan and the provinces of South and North Gyeongsang, Gangwon and South Jeolla.

It lifted the alert to "watch" for Seoul and 10 other major cities and provinces.

Haishen would be the second typhoon to hit the nation in a week.

"Huge damages are expected, as the typhoon this time is forecast to be more dangerous than the previous ones that affected South Korea shortly after the end of the monsoon season," KFS chief Park Chong-ho said. "It's important to prevent damages through the preemptive evacuation of residents to an extent that could be (seen as) excessive."

Typhoon Haishen approaches the Korean Peninsula in this image provided by the National Meteorological Satellite Center. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The Ministry of Environment had an emergency virtual meeting to review dam operations and other precautionary steps.

The ministry said it has secured approximately 4.3 billion tons of "flood control capacity" by releasing water from 20 multipurpose dams nationwide, which made them capable of not releasing water even in the case of an average of 270 mm of rainfall.

It has also banned the use of trails and camping sites at national parks.

With the approach of the typhoon, the Korea Railroad Corp. suspended or adjusted Monday's high-speed train services for some southeastern regions.


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