June started hotter than normal, little relief in sight

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June started hotter than normal, little relief in sight


An early heat wave sweeps across Seoul yesterday in Yeouido, western Seoul, as the city’s high reached 32 degrees Celsius (89.6 Fahrenheit).By Kim Seong-ryong

June started hot and it’s stayed that way, with temperatures hovering around 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) since it broke the mark on June 2.

The Korea Meteorological Administration said yesterday that Seoul’s highest temperature topped 32 degrees after last Sunday reached the same temperature.

The hot spell is ahead of the expected trend given that last year didn’t break 30 degrees until June 14.

The average high for the first half of June for the past 30 years stood at 26-27 degrees.

“The amount of solar radiation has spiked, caused by high pressure in Russia Sakhalin region,” said Huh Jin-ho, an official of the Korea Meteorological Administration. The weather agency noted the hot spell should begin easing today as the estimated high is 26 degrees.

Showers are expected to ease the heat wave tomorrow. But the hot weather is expected to return on Friday through Saturday. Highs in Seoul are estimated to be above 30 degrees.

Meanwhile, the Korea Power Exchange is monitoring the electricity reserves as consumption is expected to soar due to the hot weather.

The state-run company in charge of electricity distribution issued yesterday the level 1 warning, the least-serious level, after the power reserve dipped below the safe threshold of 4.5 million kilowatts around 2-3 p.m. The alert is the sixth time that level of warning was issued in June.

Concerns over a possible power outage sharpened when the government halted the operation of two nuclear power reactors late last month after it found that substandard parts under fake certificates had been supplied to the power plants. The state-run body released a level 2 warning last Wednesday when the reserve amount briefly plunged below 3.5 million kilowatts.

The government has been urging citizens and companies to cut back on electricity consumption, requesting people maintain temperatures inside buildings at 26 degrees. Experts also warned people of heat-related disease and death.

“If one is exposed to sweltering heat for a long time or even works under the burning sun, the person is likely to experience lower blood pressure, fainting and even muscle cramps,” said Doctor Lee Jeong-kwon, who is a family medicine professor at Samsung Medical Center.

BY PARK EUN-JEE, KANG CHAN-SU [ejpark@joongang.co.kr]
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