Flights and ferries halted in South Korea ahead of storm that’s dumped rain on Japan for a week

by Madison Thomas
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In anticipation of the tropical storm Khanun, South Korea suspended dozens of flights and ferry services on Wednesday. The storm, which has been unleashing rain on Japan’s southwestern islands for over a week, is predicted to hit South Korea’s southern and eastern areas by Wednesday afternoon. It’s expected to first reach the southern resort island of Jeju and then make landfall near Tongyeong by early Thursday.

South Korea’s weather agency warned that Khanun could wreak havoc as it’s likely to traverse the nation’s core, accompanied by winds ranging from 56 to 97 mph, before heading to North Korea on Friday. As of Wednesday morning, the storm was gauged at typhoon strength, with top winds of 78 mph, while it was situated 223 miles southeast of Jeju, moving north at a speed of 7.4 mph.

Japan categorized Khanun as a severe tropical storm, with winds at 67 mph and stronger gusts, leading to warnings for adverse weather, possible flooding, and other hazards in parts of the country’s southern island of Kyushu and surrounding locations.

Previously, Khanun had struck Japan’s Okinawa and other islands as a more robust typhoon, resulting in injuries and destruction.

The South Korean President, Yoon Suk Yeol, has urged officials to take decisive action on disaster mitigation and evacuations, emphasizing the threats from the storm, especially after recent heavy rains had caused flash floods and landslides, leading to at least 41 fatalities.

As Khanun approached, the Korea Airport Corporation reported the cancellation of at least 144 flights to and from Jeju by 11 a.m. Mainland port-linked ferry services were also called off, and authorities closed 39 roads, 26 riverside parking areas, and 613 hiking trails across the country as part of comprehensive precautionary actions.

The storm’s impending arrival has led to the evacuation of the World Scout Jamboree, hosted at a coastal site in Buan county. On Tuesday, officials coordinated the transport of 37,000 global scouts to various accommodations in Seoul and adjacent regions using over 1,000 buses.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Khanun

What areas in South Korea are expected to be hit by tropical storm Khanun?

Khanun’s heavy rains and winds were expected to arrive in South Korea’s southern and eastern regions Wednesday afternoon, then reach the southern resort island of Jeju, and make landfall near the mainland port of Tongyeong early Thursday.

What measures have been taken by South Korea in anticipation of Khanun?

Dozens of flights and ferry services were grounded, and authorities shut down roads, riverside parking lots, and hiking trails. The World Scout Jamboree was evacuated, and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol called for aggressive disaster prevention measures and evacuations.

What was the impact of Khanun on Japan?

Khanun dumped rain on Japan’s southwestern islands for over a week. It was measured as a severe tropical storm with sustained winds of 67 mph, leading to warnings for stormy conditions, potential flooding, and other risks. As a stronger typhoon, Khanun previously lashed Okinawa and other Japanese islands, causing injuries and damage.

How have the authorities in South Korea handled the evacuation of the World Scout Jamboree?

Officials mobilized more than 1,000 buses to transfer 37,000 global scouts from the coastal campsite in the southwestern county of Buan to university dormitories, government and corporate training centers, and hotels in the capital Seoul and nearby areas.

What are the expected wind speeds of Khanun as it passes through South Korea?

Khanun is expected to slice through the center of South Korea packing winds blowing at 90 to 154 kph (56 to 97 mph) before moving to North Korea early Friday. The Korean Meteorological Administration measured Khanun at typhoon strength with maximum winds of 126 kph (78 mph) as of Wednesday morning.

More about Khanun

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