By Kim Rahn
As well as the nation being drenched by unusually long and heavy rain lasting days, two or three large-scale typhoons are forecast to hit southern coastal areas this summer, the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) said Tuesday.
An atypical North Pacific anticyclone is causing relentless rainfall and high pressure is to blame for the upcoming typhoons, the weather agency said.
The KMA said the North Pacific anticyclone was developed earlier and more northward than usual, resulting in heavy rain.
“The rain front over the Korean Peninsula has remained strong as rain bearing clouds have kept coming to the peninsula driven by the high pressure,” a KMA official said.
He said Typhoon Meari in late June and a tropical low pressure near Taiwan between July 9 and 10 produced rain bearing clouds.
Since the rainy season started on June 22 in Seoul, the city has received more than 600 millimeters of rainfall, about four times the average and about half an average year’s total precipitation.
In Seoul, it has rained for 15 of the last 20 days.
The unusually developed high pressure has also altered the nation’s typhoon forecast.
The National Typhoon Center under the KMA said that two to three typhoons are likely to affect the peninsula this summer besides Meari which passed through the West Sea — a very rare path for a June typhoon.
It said the chances are getting higher for a massive typhoon to strike the peninsula directly, mainly due to a change in the position of the North Pacific anticyclone and high sea temperatures.
“A typhoon usually moves along the border of the North Pacific anticyclone and gets energy from the ocean. Most typhoons used to pass over the continent of China and become weak, not causing direct damage to Korea. But the high pressure has developed differently this year and the water temperatures of the East China Sea has risen, so typhoons with great energy can head directly to the peninsula,” the weatherman said.
He said if typhoons hit the peninsula in August or September when the water temperature is high, they could cause huge damage like Typhoon Sarah in 1959 or Typhoon Rusa in 2002.
“The chance of strong typhoons hitting the peninsula is more likely. People should make advance preparations to minimize damage,” he said.
Downpours continued across the country Tuesday, with heavy rain warnings issued for Incheon and Jeju, and Gyeonggi, Jeolla, Chungcheong and South Gyeongsang provinces.
The KMA forecast more rain today, especially in central parts of the country, along with strong winds, thunder and lightning.