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(3rd LD) Sweltering heat continues to bake S. Korea

All News 20:59 July 22, 2021

(ATTN: UPDATES with details about electricity consumption in paras 6-10)

SEOUL, July 22 (Yonhap) -- Unrelenting heat continued in most parts of the country Thursday, with temperatures reaching the upper 30s in some of the hottest areas, the weather agency said.

Heat warnings remained in effect for most of the country, where the average temperature was recorded in the range of 28 C-36 C nationwide, with some southwestern inland cities reaching as high as 38 C, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA).

The scorching weather eased only slightly during the night. And the so-called tropical night phenomenon is forecast to continue for days to come.

The lowest temperatures in most big cities and coastal regions, including Seoul, Incheon, Busan and Mokpo, all hovered over 25 C on Wednesday night, with minimal break from the sweltering heat.

Days of extremely warm weather have pushed electricity consumption to this season's record levels, but the supply is stable, the Korea Power Exchange said.

A woman walks along Hongje Stream in Seoul, covering herself from the burning sun while holding a parasol and a fan on July 21, 2021. (Yonhap)

The country's electricity consumption hit a yearly high on Thursday, with the maximum power consumption reaching 90 gigawatts (GW) as of 6 p.m.

The previous record was set Wednesday, when the maximum power demand stood at 88.9 GW.

South Korea's maximum power use hit a record high of 92.5 GW on July 24, 2018, when the country was gripped by the most severe heat wave in 111 years.

Despite high power consumption, the country's reserve electricity came to 10 GW and its power reserve ratio reached 11.1 percent as of 6 p.m. which means the power supply remains stable.

Power authorities said the country should have an electricity reserve of at least 10 GW to prepare for emergencies, with the reserve electricity ratio hovering above 10 percent.

But demand for power is expected to grow further, possibly straining the electricity supply, as the current hot weather is forecast to continue well into next week, according to the weather agency.

A health worker tries to cool off by putting a plastic bag full of ice cubes on his head at a COVID-19 testing center in Seoul on July 22, 2021. (Yonhap)

As of 3 p.m. Thursday, temperatures hit 35.8 C in the southwestern city of Gwangju and 36.4 C in Seoul. Goyang, just northwest of Seoul, reported the country's highest temperature of the day at 37.9 C.

Eastern parts of the country remained relatively cooler, with 33.7 C in Daegu and 31.9 C in Gangneung.

In South Jeolla Province, two have died and 47 people have fallen ill due to the extreme heat. Approximately 10,000 chickens from 24 farmhouses in the province died amid the sweltering temperatures.

Gwangju and Incheon have reported 12 and 14 such patients, respectively.

The heat wave is threatening to kill marine life as well. Heat wave warnings have been issued for waters off the southwestern county of Hampyeong and waters in three other areas.

In Incheon, 590 households in an apartment complex lost power on Wednesday night for six hours. Earlier in the week, 270 houses in another apartment complex in the city suffered a power outage for almost 20 hours.

Water is being sprayed over cows at a farmhouse in Gwangju, on July 22, 2021, to keep them cool. (Yonhap)

Weather officials attributed the current heat wave to a deep mass of high-pressure air that has parked itself above the Korean Peninsula.

The season's sixth typhoon, In-fa, which formed south of Okinawa, Japan, on Sunday is currently on a path toward southern China. Although the typhoon will not directly affect the Korean Peninsula, it may push more hot and damp air toward the peninsula, potentially aggravating the sweltering weather conditions, the agency said. But it added that it is still too early to determine the typhoon's effects on Korea.

Weather and health officials advised people to minimize outdoor activities during the day and watch out for any symptoms of heat-related illnesses.

A health worker at a COVID-19 testing center has a flushed face from the sweltering heat on July 21, 2021. (Yonhap)

jaeyeon.woo@yna.co.kr
(END)

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