Typhoon brings rain, interrupting a long drought

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Typhoon brings rain, interrupting a long drought

A typhoon has finally brought rain to the country, following a prolonged drought that dried up the country’s reservoirs.

Chan-hom, a small typhoon that affected South Korea and Shanghai, has been observed to be moving northward on the Yellow Sea.

“South Korea is expecting torrential rain and strong wind coast-to-coast until Monday,” the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) said on Sunday. “The northern part of Korea, Jeju Island, the southern coast and Mount Jiri are expecting heavy rain of more than 150 millimeters (6 inches).”

The typhoon is expected to pass through Baengnyeong Island on the west coast and dissipate after landing on North Korean territory at about 3 p.m. today.

As of Sunday, Jeju was the region in Korea most heavily affected by the typhoon. Precipitation measured on Mount Halla’s highest peaks totaled 1,220 millimeters over the weekend, with some areas lower on the mountain recording 879.5 millimeters and 486.5 millimeters.

Though the typhoon did not directly hit South Korea, the KMA issued warnings for heavy rain as well as strong winds and high tides on the southwestern part of the country, including on Jeju Island.

About 10,000 passengers were stranded at Jeju International Airport, where 147 flights were canceled. Some 10 ferries and 2,000 vessels remained anchored at local harbors and ports, while beaches on the island closed.

Strong winds also caused other troubles on Jeju. Five Mongolian-style gers at Hamdeok Beach on the northern coast of Jeju Island were blown away, while about 10 roadside trees in Jeju City were snapped.

Still, the typhoon was welcomed by farmers nationwide, who were desperately waiting for the rain to come and ease a prolonged drought that has dried up Korea’s reservoirs and devastated the country’s agricultural industry.

“The rainfall is still far below average precipitation,” a KMA official said, “but we speculate the typhoon will wet the dry weather to some extent.”

Chan-hom, named after a Laotian tree, is followed by a stronger typhoon, Nangka, which is expected to affect Jeju and the southern and eastern parts of Korea between July 17 and 18 if it keeps to its projected course.

“Nangka has developed into a strong typhoon as of 9 a.m. on Sunday,” KMA said. “It is located 1,350 kilometers southeast of Okinawa, Japan, moving westward.”

The forecast authority added that the route of the typhoon may shift due to pressure changes around Korea.

BY KIM BONG-MOON [kim.bongmoon@joongang.co.kr]

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