Heat brings ‘tropical’ nights to the nation
A scorcher of a summer gripped the nation yesterday, prompting the Korea Meteorological Administration to issue heat wave advisories nationwide and more specific heat wave warnings for the first time this year.
The average temperatures during the day are two to three degrees Celsius higher than average, while the eastern coast is showing a five-to-six degrees Celsius boost, the weather agency reported.
Daegu and its surrounding areas in North Gyeongsang have experienced heat over 35 degrees Celsius (95 Farenheit) two days in a row, causing the agency to issue its first heat wave warnings in the region. Daegu’s temperature reached 36 degrees Celsius yesterday around noon.
The agency issues heat wave advisories when the mercury is expected to go over 33 degrees Celsius for over two days. Heat wave warnings are issued when the temperature is expected to reach 35 degrees Celsius for two consecutive days.
Gwangju and Jeonju have simmered with temperatures over 30 degrees since Wednesday. Some areas have experienced so-called “tropical nights”: any night in which the mercury stays above 25 degrees from 6 p.m. to 9 a.m. Seoul, Suwon and Daegu all had two consecutive tropical nights this week. Such sweaty nights usually occur in July following the monsoon season, which is traditionally in late June and early July.
The weather agency forecasts the heat to continue for the next two weeks until early August. “Clouds for rain are not being formed as cooler air - which is required - isn’t anywhere near the country,” the agency told the JoongAng Ilbo yesterday.
Some are comparing this week’s heat wave to July 1994 when the average highs in Seoul were 32.6 degrees Celsius, four degrees above the average. According to reports, the scorching heat 18 years ago was responsible for up to 900 deaths, mainly elderly people, in Seoul.
Experts say everyone should drink more water and reduce outdoor activities to avoid heat stroke.
“If a person has heat exhaustion, immediately move him in the shade, spray water onto the body or put ice on to cool down the body temperature,” said Shin Jong-hwan, professor of emergency medicine at SNU Boramae Medical School.
By Kang Jin-kyu, Kang Chan-su [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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