Cold spell brings record snowfall and power cutsBitterly cold weather hit the nation on Wednesday, bringing temperatures of minus 10 degrees Celsius and heavy snow fall in some regions and creating problems for residents.
The electricity supply was knocked out by snow and wind in six towns in South Jeolla - two in Haenam District and four in Shinan District - leaving 37,000 families in the cold.
The power supply first failed at around 1:15 a.m. and came back at 2:34 a.m., but shortly after, a second hour-long blackout occurred. A third blackout later that night affected only Shinan District, according to the Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) in South Jeolla.
“It seems that the strong winds and the great amount of snow have caused the problems to the transmission lines that connect Haenam to Shinan,” said a Kepco official. “We will look into the problems and do our best to prevent the problems from reoccurring.”
The towns in Haenam had 18 centimeters (7 inches) of snow when the blackout occurred between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m. The temperature was minus 2.3 degrees in the region.
The Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) issued warnings for heavy snow in South and North Jeolla and the mountainous areas on Jeju Island.
Mokpo in South Jeolla received more than 30 centimeters of snow, the most in nine years.
Fifty-eight elementary and middle schools in Wando in South Jeolla canceled classes due to 24 centimeters of snow, the most that has fallen in the province since the KMA started keeping records in 1970.
Visitors were prevented from going to the Halla Mountain on Jeju Isalnd as snow piled up to 130 centimeters.
Meanwhile, the KMA issued a cold spell notice for Seoul on Wednesday. Seoul experienced the lowest temperatures so far this winter of minus 13 degrees.
The lowest temperature when factoring in wind chill was minus 17 degrees.
According to the KMA, the bitter cold will subside after Thursday. The temperature will climb temporarily on Friday and Saturday and snow and rain are forecasted nationwide.
The KMA also predicted that this Christmas would not be a white Christmas, with no snow predicted to fall on Christmas or Christmas Eve.
BY PARK YUNA [firstname.lastname@example.org]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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