South Korea braces for Typhoon Hinnamnor as storm brings high winds

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SEOUL — After building up to the strongest tropical storm of the year last week, Typhoon Hinnamnor tracked toward South Korea on Monday as officials raised the typhoon alert to the highest level before the storm. landing scheduled for Tuesday.

The storm has already unleashed devastating winds and rains, prompting evacuation orders and disrupting transportation in the south of the country, including Busan, South Korea’s second-largest city.

Hinnamnor was packing maximum sustained winds of 127 mph and gusts of up to 155 mph, according to the US Joint Typhoon Warning Center. The Korea Meteorological Administration said strong winds and heavy rain are expected across the country until Tuesday.

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No casualties have been reported so far, but at least 11 facilities have been flooded, according to South Korea’s Interior and Security Ministry.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol held an emergency meeting over the weekend to discuss the typhoon response. “We have not yet fully recovered from the damage caused by the recent downpour and Typhoon Hinnamnor is making progress, causing great public concern,” Yoon said at Sunday’s meeting.

Last month, a record downpour across the country killed more than a dozen people and displaced thousands, many of them in the Seoul area. Recovery efforts are still ongoing in severely affected areas, where authorities have called for additional precautionary measures ahead of the typhoon’s arrival.

As Hinnamnor approached, North Korea’s meteorological agency also issued weather warnings, with reports of heavy rain in the capital, Pyongyang, and other parts of the country on Sunday. The regime’s official newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, on Monday called for damage prevention works to minimize the typhoon’s impact on the economy.

North Korea’s poor infrastructure and widespread poverty make its population particularly vulnerable to climate-induced disasters. The super typhoon could deal a blow to the ailing economy of the isolated country, which is grappling with international sanctions and stalled trade with China due to the fight against coronaviruses.

Typhoons regularly cross the Pacific between June and November each year. But climate scientists have warned that extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and damaging due to global warming. Typhoon Hinnamnor, which formed in the Western Pacific earlier this month, also affected Japan.


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