The Korea Meteorological Administration issued a heat wave alert for Seoul and adjacent areas at noon Monday, advising people to refrain from going outdoors.
The unusually early hot weather will subside no later than Wednesday when the country enters rainy season, or jangma.
According to the weather agency, the mercury in Seoul as well as Suwon, Gyeonggi Province and Chuncheon, Gangwon Province rose well above 33 degrees Celsius at noon and the sizzling weather is expected to grip the Korean Peninsula through Tuesday.
This is the first heat wave alert issued this year. The KMA will issue heat wave alerts if the temperature surpasses 35 degrees Celsius.
The scorching heat has come early. According to the KMA, the same alert was first made in the capital on Aug. 20 last year, about two months later than this year.
The agency said the heat will subside around Wednesday, when rainfall will hit the central part of the peninsula, signaling the beginning of the rainy season.
It also said the heavy rain is expected to last until September. “In the past, jangma lasted until late July but these days, the rainy spell tends to continue until fall,” Chung Gwan-young, a KMA official said.
He said it isn’t certain whether the sweltering heat is due to climate change as many people are concerned it might be. “Some people say it’s El nino or La nina, but nothing is for sure. According to statistics, we will have a hotter and longer summer. That’s for sure,” he said.
By Bae Ji-sook (email@example.com