Flood damage and deaths continues as rains move south
Heavy rains battered southern Gyeonggi, North and South Chungcheong and Gangwon overnight Wednesday, leading to extensive flood damage and at least 11 deaths across the nation.
In scenes reminiscent of those that played out in Seoul on Monday, streets in Cheongju, North Chungcheong and the administrative city of Sejong turned into rivers on Wednesday night.
Some 327 millimeters (12.8 inches) fell overnight Wednesday in Jecheon, North Chungcheong, while 269 millimeters were recorded in Cheongju.
Armed with buckets, Cheongju residents came out onto the streets to try and keep rising waters at bay as muddy water from Musimcheon, a stream that runs through the city, overflowed into neighboring low-lying areas.
At least 26 houses were damaged by flooding in Cheongju, while 11 houses were flooded in similarly hard-hit Daejeon.
The Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters reported that 11 people were confirmed dead and eight others missing as of 6 a.m. Thursday.
Of the dead, six were in Seoul, three in Gyeonggi and two in Gangwon while three of the eight unaccounted for were from Seoul, according to the agency.
There remained three people missing in Seoul, three in Gyeonggi and two in Wonju, Gangwon as of Thursday morning.
A total of 3,775 homes and buildings have been inundated, of which 3,453 are located in Seoul.
Over 980 people from 548 households, mostly from the wider Seoul area, have been displaced by the floods and taken shelter in local schools and gyms.
A further 4,297 people from 2,042 households across the country were evacuated as a precaution, officials said. Around 2,740 temporary evacuees are from Seoul, while 1,422 are from Gyeonggi.
Some 90 people were trapped at a mountain camping ground in Gangneung, Gangwon when a flood cut off the only road into the area. They were able to leave on Thursday after the water receded.
Flooded farmland amounted to 305 hectares (754 acres).
The Korea Meteorological Administration has lifted the downpour warning in the wider Seoul area and neighboring Incheon, but maintained a heavy rain warning for the country's central region, including South Chungcheong, where precipitation may reach between 30 and 40 milimeters per hour on Thursday evening.
Authorities also announced road closures in several locations across the country due to flooding, landslides or erosion.
Olympic-daero, an eight-lane highway that runs along the southern banks of the Han River, was closed from 3:30 p.m. Thursday after authorities decided that the amount of water being discharged from the Paldang Dam in Hanam, Gyeonggi, east of Seoul, could pose a flood risk to the highway.
Rainfall of up to 200 millimeters is expected in North Jeolla and North Gyeongsang between Wednesday and Thursday, according to the meteorological administration.
The National Forest Service upgraded its landslide warnings for North Jeolla and North Gyeongsang on Thursday morning as the seasonal rain front moves south.
A lower landslide advisory remains in effect in Seoul, Incheon, Daejeon, Sejong, Gyeonggi, Gangwon, and North and South Chungcheong.
Those areas remain at risk of landslides due to rain earlier this week.
A total of 26 landslides have been recorded during this week’s heavy rains, most in the mountainous Gangwon region.
BY MICHAEL LEE [firstname.lastname@example.org]