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More snow hinders east coast clean-up

Another round of heavy snow hit the nation’s east coastal area Monday, which had already received a record snowfall of more than 100 centimeters over the weekend.

While officials and local residents were busy clearing streets and vehicles, the weather agency expected more snow of up to 50 centimeters in Gangwon Province until Monday evening.

On Friday alone, Gangneung, a major city in the region, got 77.7 centimeters of snow, the heaviest level since the weather forecast started in 1911.

“Affected by the northeastern air current, the humid water vapor will turn into a snow cloud, sprinkling heavy snow in the east coastal area,” the weather agency said. 
A family waits for public transportation in Gangneung on Monday.  (Yonhap News)
A family waits for public transportation in Gangneung on Monday.  (Yonhap News)

“The temperature will start to increase from Tuesday afternoon. On Wednesday, we will have the average temperature.”

While the waist-high snowfall almost paralyzed normal city life in the region Monday, government officials, soldiers and local residents continued their snow-reducing work.

Gangwon Province had dispatched about 22,600 workers and 1,750 snowplows to the cities hit hard by heavy snow.

The efforts were also made on major roads connecting PyeongChang where a team from the International Olympic Committee began on-site inspection for the city’s bid to host the 2018 Winter Games.

The City of Gangneung, which designated the day as “Snow Clean-up Day,” encouraged citizens to participate in clearing snow in their front yard, workplace and community.

Military units in the region also joined hands to support the snow-reducing work, providing personnel and equipment.

After the efforts, 960 people of 494 households could have been saved from isolation. However, some 310 villagers living in mountainous areas were already been stranded at home as of Monday afternoon.

The province’s emergency management committee tentatively estimated that the amount of damage could reach 6.6 billion won ($5.8 million). It could surpass 10 billion won after further investigation, they said.

By Lee Ji-yoon (jylee@heraldcorp.com)
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