Snow strangles capital’s roads
The Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) had forecast around 4 a.m. Friday that it will snow less than 1 centimeter (0.4 inches) in Seoul, Incheon and southern Gyeonggi.
As the snowflakes thickened, however, the KMA adjusted its forecast around 7 a.m. to say it will actually snow up to 3 centimeters in the capital area.
In another two hours, the KMA issued heavy snow advisories in Gangwon and Gyeonggi.
“Snow clouds developed over the Yellow Sea in a low-pressure system and are bringing much snow into Seoul and surrounding areas,” the national weather forecaster said in a statement. “We expect the snowfall to last quite a while.”
By that time, the damage had already been done.
A van slid in the snow and crashed on a road in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi, around 7:50 a.m., killing one passenger and injuring three others.
On a section of the Olympic Highway in Gangseo District, western Seoul, a truck flipped over on the road at around 5:33 a.m. A taxi following behind crashed into the truck, injuring both the driver and a passenger.
A multiple-vehicle collision took place on a road in Bucheon, Gyeonggi, at around 6:20 a.m. A SsangYong Rexton SUV slipped on the road and skidded over the centerline, colliding with a taxi coming head-on. A car and a bus following the taxi then crashed into it.
Three people were injured in the collision, though none of the injuries were serious, according to the authorities.
The collision froze traffic in the area for about an hour, however.
There were a total of 32 accidents on roads in Seoul from 5 a.m. to 10:20 a.m., according to the Seoul city government.
Traffic slowed down throughout the city and Gyeonggi areas for most of the morning rush hour. It snowed about 2 centimeters in Seoul, 3.4 centimeters in Incheon and 4.5 centimeters in Dongducheon, northern Gyeonggi, in the morning.
“The buses were terribly delayed in the morning,” said a 72-year-old resident of Dongjak District, southern Seoul.
“I hadn’t heard that it was going to snow this much,” said Kim Da-in, a 31-year-old office worker in Seoul, whose hair was covered in snowflakes. “I would’ve taken an umbrella from home had I known.”
At least 20 flights were delayed at Incheon International Airport in the morning and 25 were delayed at Gimpo Airport, which also had to cancel six flights in the morning.
In the afternoon, the KMA said the snowfall is expected to continue into the night in some southern regions and should let up today.
Clear weather is expected in most areas except for North and South Jeolla, South Chungcheong and Jeju Island.
BY ESTHER CHUNG, LEE SU-JEONG AND YONHAP [firstname.lastname@example.org]