Hundreds of flights and high-speed trains were canceled, and businesses were closed in Busan, South Korea, after Tropical Storm Khanun made landfall Thursday, bringing heavy rain and severe gusts.
The storm, which pummeled Japan before taking a meandering route to the Korean peninsula, made landfall in the south at around 9:20 a.m. local time (0020 GMT) and is expected to proceed north, delivering heavy rain across the country, according to Korea’s meteorological agency.
More than 10,000 people have been evacuated, with Prime Minister Han Duck-soo encouraging local governments to “verify whether residents in high-risk areas have failed to evacuate,” and if not, to guarantee that they do so.
Typhoon warnings have been issued throughout the country, with downpours of up to 500 millimetres expected in northeastern coastal areas and 100 to 200 millimetres expected in Seoul and its surrounding areas until early Friday.
Strong winds slammed Busan, causing pedestrians to struggle to walk in gusts of up to 145 kilometers per hour. Many shops and restaurants were closed.
As of Thursday, at least 330 flights had been canceled, and maritime lines and railways had been halted, according to officials.
Earlier this week, the storm forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of scouts from their jamboree campground in the country’s south.
The storm forced certain districts in Japan’s southern Miyazaki region to issue the country’s highest-level notice overnight, asking inhabitants to “protect their lives immediately” as the chance of rain-induced mudslides grew.
According to NHK, lower-level evacuation recommendations were also issued in sections of the Ehime, Kochi, and Oita regions.
More than 10,000 households on the island of Kyushu were still without power as of 9:00 a.m. Thursday owing to the storm.
According to AFP, Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways cancelled over 80 flights on Thursday.
According to the interior ministry, the South Korean government has encouraged the public to “refrain from going outside and remain safely inside until the typhoon passes.”
During this year’s monsoon rains, flooding and landslides have killed more than 40 people in South Korea, including one event in which vehicles were trapped in an underground tunnel by flash floods.
Last year, the country also saw record-breaking rains and flooding, which killed at least 11 people.
They included three persons who perished trapped in a Seoul underground apartment of the type made famous by the Oscar-winning Korean film “Parasite.”
The administration claimed at the time that the 2022 flooding was the greatest rainfall since records began 115 years ago, blaming the harsh weather on climate change.