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(LEAD) S. Korea braces as Typhoon Hinnamnor nears

All News 04:56 September 06, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with reports of the typhoon's progress, other details, minor edits in paras 2-8)
By Kim Han-joo

SEOUL, Sept. 6 (Yonhap) -- Super Typhoon Hinnamnor continued to inch closer to South Korea on Tuesday, forcing thousands of people to be evacuated from their homes as the entire nation went on high alert for what could be the most powerful storm ever to hit the country.

The typhoon, the 11th this year, continued to move northeast toward Busan after passing by the southern island of Jeju at around midnight.

More than 2,000 people have been evacuated from their homes as of midnight as the storm was expected to make landfall on the southern coast of South Gyeongsang Province at around 5 a.m., according to the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA).

Waves hit a seawall in Busan on Sept. 5, 2022, as the super strong Typhoon Hinnamnor approaches the Korean Peninsula. (Yonhap)

The KMA said the typhoon was classified "very strong" when it passed through Jeju with an atmospheric pressure of 945 hectopascals (hPa) at its center and maximum wind speed of 45 meters per second.

Hinnamnor is expected to be the strongest typhoon ever to make landfall in the country.

"Hinnamnor is a very big typhoon with a radius of 400 kilometers, and can carry strong winds and heavy rainfall almost all across the country," Han Sang-un, the chief forecaster at the KMA, told a press briefing, urging to minimize possible casualties.

Typhoons are classified into four categories: medium, strong, very strong and super strong. Super strong refers to typhoons with a maximum wind speed of at least 54 meters per second.

After brushing past Jeju, Typhoon Hinnamnor was forecast to pass 180 kilometers southwest of the southern port city of Busan by 3 a.m., with an atmospheric pressure of 945 hectopascals at its center, the KMA said earlier.

The typhoon's strength when it reaches Busan is forecast to remain "very strong."

Workers at a restaurant in Tongyeong, South Gyeongsang Province, move a table on Sept. 5, 2022, to prepare for the approach of the super strong Typhoon Hinnamnor toward the Korean Peninsula. (Yonhap)
Fishing boats are anchored at a port in Tongyeong, South Gyeongsang Province, on Sept. 5, 2022, as the super strong Typhoon Hinnamnor approaches the Korean Peninsula. (Yonhap)

A heavy rain warning was issued for all parts of the country until Tuesday, the KMA said.

The country is expected to receive an accumulated rainfall between 100 and 300 millimeters on Monday and Tuesday, with the mountainous areas of Jeju and some southern coastal regions receiving more than 600 millimeters and 400 millimeters, respectively, the KMA said.

Super Typhoon Hinnamnor approaches

The typhoon could also bring record strong winds, with the KMA forecasting maximum speeds of 40 to 60 meters per second in Jeju and other lower coastal areas between Monday night and Tuesday.

The current record is 63.7 meters per second measured in the eastern coastal city of Sokcho on Oct. 23, 2006.

No casualties have been reported from the effects of Typhoon Hinnamnor so far.

The Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters' emergency response posture was upgraded to the highest level as of 4:30 p.m. Sunday for the first time in five years in terms of the typhoon response.

As of Monday night, a total of eight homes and three commercial buildings were inundated on Jeju Island alone, according to the interior ministry.

Almost all schools in Jeju were closed. Nationwide, 62 elementary, middle and high schools temporarily closed down, 548 schools switched to online learning and 1,153 shortened classes to prevent damage from the typhoon.

A series of ferry services and flights were canceled across the country.

Across the country, a total of 361 domestic flights had been cancelled as of Monday afternoon, according to airport authorities.

Out of 67 domestic flights leaving the Gimpo International Airport in western Seoul, as of 9 a.m. Monday, 13 had been cancelled, according to the Korea Airports Corporation.

President Yoon Suk-yeol instructed the military and police to immediately deploy the "maximum" of their available personnel to help get citizens out of harm's way and engage in other emergency operations, his spokesperson Kang In-sun said.

He issued the instruction after being briefed on the typhoon by Prime Minister Han Duck-soo at around 9 p.m.

The water level of a stream is high on the southern island of Jeju on Sept. 5, 2022, as the country braces for Super Typhoon Hinnamnor. (Yonhap)

khj@yna.co.kr
(END)

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