Snowfall to worsen holiday trafficMillions of Koreans spend hours traveling to their hometowns every Lunar New Year. But this year, traffic in the central regions is expected to be even worse than usual, as the state weather agency yesterday forecast snowfall from the evening through this morning.
“Gangwon and the northern mountain areas in North Gyeongsang Province will have lots of snow, between five to 15 centimeters by today,” an official at the Korea Meteorological Administration said.
Seoul, Gyeonggi and inland areas of South Chungcheong, Jeolla and North Gyeongsang provinces were each expected to see around 1 centimeter of snowfall by last night, and the weather agency official warned that the snow on the roads could turn into slippery ice.
Many Koreans began their journeys to their hometowns yesterday, just a day before the three-day holiday, to avoid the worst of the traffic, but heavy snow - deep enough to reach an adult’s thigh - had already fallen in mountainous areas of Gangwon province, including Daegwallyeong.
Thursday alone, 59 centimeters (23 inches) of snow fell on Yeongdong Highway in Daegwallyeong, and that figure climbed to 83.1 centimeters as of 2 p.m. yesterday. Sixteen snowplows were scattering 800 tons of salt and calcium chloride to keep the roads clear, but they couldn’t stop the snow from piling up.
Traffic jams stretched for 23 kilometers from Hoenggye to Gangneung in Gangwon Province, and it took drivers more than an hour to pass some roads.
“Drivers who travel roads that received heavy snow must have snow tires to ensure safety and keep the traffic flowing,” said Lee Hu-jin, an official at the Gangwon office of the Korea Expressway Corporation.
Gangwon province’s residents and public service workers had begun removing snow, and work was expected to continue today.
By Kim Mi-ju [email@example.com]
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