(ATTN: UPDATES latest info in paras 2, 7-8, 13; ADDS image)
SEOUL, Aug. 23 (Yonhap) -- Heavy rains and strong winds started to batter Jeju Monday afternoon, as Typhoon Omais nears the resort island, the national weather agency said.
As of 7 p.m. Monday, the typhoon was travelling north-northeastward at a speed of 45 kilometers per hour over waters about 52 km south-southwest of Jeju, the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) said.
The typhoon will bring torrential downpours and ferocious winds to the island, with an accumulated 100-300 mm of rainfall until Tuesday.
A low pressure system, which is located near the island, is causing additional rainfall accompanied by thunder and lightning.
A typhoon warning was issued for the entire island and nearby seas Monday afternoon, and strong wind gusts of 10-18 meters per second are expected.
The southern port city of Busan is also projected to see heavy rain of 70 mm per hour and 30 meter-per-second wind gusts, with some areas receiving as much as 400 mm of rain until Tuesday.
The government of the southeastern city of Changwon ordered residents in its 73 areas prone to landslides and flooding to evacuate.
South Jeolla Province also said it will evacuate 12,000 residents living in some 4,000 areas to sturdier places in advance, while cordoning off some public areas, such as underground parking lots, that are susceptible to flash flooding. The province is forecast to receive heavy rainfall of up to 400 mm.
The southwestern port city of Yeosu is bracing for the impact of the typhoon, closing down makeshift testing centers for COVID-19 and anchoring boats and seaside structures.
Most southern parts of the country are under heavy rain watch, which is issued when more than 60 mm of rain is forecast for a span of three hours.
As of 2 p.m., landslide warnings were issued for Busan and the provinces of South Chungcheong, South Jella and South Gyeongsang, where the typhoon is projected to dump more than 220 mm of rain until 6 p.m. Tuesday.
The weather service warned strong winds and a storm surge could disrupt public transportation to the island until Tuesday, and advised the local governments, and especially residents in low-lying areas, to thoroughly prepare for the storm.
As of 6:30 p.m, 75 flights to and from the island were grounded as a wind gust warning was issued on the island around noon, according to the Korea Airport Corp.
Most fishing boats and eight ferries connecting Jeju and other ports, including Mokpo and Busan, were canceled due to high winds.
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