South Korean authorities warned Typhoon Khanun is on track to deliver an “extremely powerful” impact amid forecasts it will barrel up the country toward Seoul, the capital that’s home to about half the country’s population.
(Bloomberg) — South Korean authorities warned Typhoon Khanun is on track to deliver an “extremely powerful” impact amid forecasts it will barrel up the country toward Seoul, the capital that’s home to about half the country’s population.
The nation hasn’t previously experienced a tropical cyclone that’s cut through the interior and crossed into North Korea, according to records that date back to 1951, the Korea Meteorological Administration said Wednesday.
Khanun is gaining momentum as it approaches South Korea’s southern coast and is expected to make landfall Thursday near the southern port city of Tongyeong with maximum speeds of 126 kilometers per hour (78 miles per hour), according to the administration.
The typhoon is forecast to be about 40 kilometers east-southeast of Seoul by late Thursday, before it travels north toward Pyongyang by early Friday.
“Extremely powerful wind and torrential rain will be expected in all parts of the country,” Park Jung Min, a forecaster at the administration, told reporters. “We want to emphasize the need for thorough preparation and precaution ahead of the typhoon.”
Toyota Motor Corp.’s Kyushu unit halted production Wednesday at its Miyata plant in Japan’s southern Fukuoka prefecture, while Nissan Motor Co. said two operations in Kyushu were temporarily stopped. Steelmaker Posco Holdings Inc. and state-run utility Korea Electric Power Corp. are among major companies in South Korea already taking precautions for the storm’s arrival.
Khanun caused power outages in Japan’s southern Okinawa prefecture and closed financial markets and schools in Taipei as it churned across the region last week.
About 300 flights had been canceled at major airports in South Korea by 4 p.m. local time Wednesday, according to the FlightAware.com tracking service. Public transport is likely to be suspended if the storm causes severe rain and wind, the Seoul Metropolitan Government said.
President Yoon Suk Yeol said in an emergency meeting Tuesday that the government should make all-out efforts to minimize potential casualties. His office is on 24-hour emergency duty from Wednesday, Yonhap News reported, citing an unidentified official at the presidential office.
South Korea is bracing for Khanun less than a year after Super Typhoon Hinnamnor, which killed more than 10 people and disrupted both power supplies and major industry.
Jeju island and the southern city of Pohang, where Posco’s main steelmill is based, ordered their residents near coastal areas to evacuate on Wednesday, according to their websites.
The Ministry of the Interior and Safety has advised private companies and state agencies to adjust commuting hours when the typhoon passes through the country’s inland on Thursday and Friday.
Japan Airlines Co. canceled more than 252 flights on Wednesday, while All Nippon Airways Co. has halted almost 170 services between Aug. 9 and 10.
–With assistance from Shoko Oda, Jon Herskovitz and Supriya Singh.
(Updates with storm’s status and other details throughout)
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