Three die in flash floods caused by typhoon

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Three die in flash floods caused by typhoon


A massive wave crashes down on cars parked on a coastal highway in Busan yesterday, as Typhoon Dianmu swirled through the country. By Song Bong-geun

Typhoon Dianmu made its way across the peninsula and into the East Sea yesterday afternoon, but not before leaving a trail of wreckage, with three dead in Seoul and extensive property damage in southern Korea.

The three who drowned in Seoul were the first casualties as a result of a typhoon since 2001.

The Disaster and Safety Management Office in Seoul yesterday said two out of a group of six campers in Mount Bukhan were swept away by swollen currents while crossing a bridge around 5:30 p.m.

The two drowned and their bodies were later found. The mountain, which is located in Eunpyeong, received about 108 millimeters (4.25 inches) of rain from 4 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

Around the same time in Mapo, a taxi driver drowned inside his car as the underground tunnel through which he was traveling suddenly flooded.

Seven vehicles were caught in the flooding, according to witnesses at the scene, and all but the taxi driver - surnamed Lim, 54 - managed to keep from drowning by climbing onto their car roofs.

Police and witnesses estimated that the water level in the tunnel at the time was 11 meters (36 feet).

What was characteristic of this typhoon, Seoul officials said, was that there were big fluctuations in rain levels in different parts of the city.

“Other districts in Seoul got only 10 to 40 millimeters of rain, but it poured in Eunpyeong,” said one official.

The same phenomenon occurred in other parts of the country, officials said. Some southern areas, such as Mount Halla in Jeju Island, received up to 739.5 millimeters of rain from Tuesday to yesterday, while Gangneung in Gangwon saw just 22.5 millimeters over the same period.

However, where rain did strike, it struck hard: A 50-ton crane at a port in Seogwipo, Jeju, toppled over and an 80-ton crane was damaged.

About 100 meters of seawall under construction were also swept away by rough waves.

There might be still more to come.

“Although Dianmu has passed, there is a good chance one or two more typhoons may hit the peninsula in September,” an official from the Korea Meteorological Agency said.

By Christine Kim []
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