Typhoon Lingling promises wet, gusty weekend
Lingling, which formed in the sea southeast of Taiwan on Monday, had grown into a medium-sized typhoon by Thursday with a maximum wind speed of 39 meters per second (87.2 miles per hour), according to the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA).
The typhoon, which approaches Jeju Island as early as this afternoon, is expected to land in Korea between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday. Its maximum wind speed will be between 35 to 39 meters per second, which is nearly strong enough to lift a person.
According to the KMA, a windy condition with the maximum wind speed higher than 15 meters per second can lead to store signs falling off; higher than 25 meters per second can result in rooftop slates flying away or damages to chimneys; and higher than 30 meters per second can result in damage to small homes.
A maximum wind speed higher than 35 meters per second can push a train off railway tracks; higher than 40 meters per second can shift rocks and lift a person; and higher than 50 meters per second can damage concrete buildings.
Typhoon Gonpas, which landed in Incheon in September 2010 and was the last typhoon that passed close to Seoul and Gyeonggi, had a maximum wind speed of 20 meters per second when it passed near Seoul.
It uprooted 8,000 trees in Seoul and a total of 250,000 trees throughout the country.
A total of 1.56 million households lost power at the time. Property damage due to the typhoon amounted to 176.1 billion won ($144.8 million), according to the Ministry of the Interior and Safety.
A total of six people died in the typhoon, and 11 others were injured.
The Interior Ministry hosted a meeting on Thursday to discuss emergency response strategies especially for farmlands, coastal areas and mountainous regions that may experience landslides.
“The typhoon is coming at a time when the ground is already weak after the past few days of heavy rain,” said Chin Young, minister of the interior and safety, during the meeting at the ministry headquarters in Sejong. “The strong winds from the typhoon may lead to heavy damages. Respective bureaus must check on the state of infrastructure and other safety measures before the typhoon hits us.”
A monsoonal front moving across Korea brought heavy rainfall in the past few days.
The ministry also issued a number of precautionary warnings for citizens including taping their windows.
“For those living in high-rise apartments or working in high-rise office buildings, we advise shutting the windows tight and taping [around the frames],” the ministry said in its website. “For farmers, we advise against going to check on fields during heavy rain.”
“Continue to check on TV, radio, Internet and smartphones the movement of the typhoon and when it may pass close to you.”
The KMA said it will rain some 100-200 millimeters (3.94-7.87 inches) in Jeju and southern and western coastal areas from Friday to Saturday and some 50-100 millimeters in the Seoul, Gyeonggi and Gangwon areas.
Festivals scheduled for the weekend were canceled.
A civic group in Paju, Gyeonggi, that organized a flower festival from Saturday to Sunday announced the cancellation of the event on Thursday.
The Gyeonggi provincial government also delayed a cultural and music festival near the military demarcation line from Saturday to Sept. 10. The Suwon Cultural Foundation also pushed back a jazz festival scheduled from Friday to Saturday, to Sept. 18 to 19.
BY ESTHER CHUNG, KANG CHAN-SU AND JEON ICK-JIN [email@example.com]