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Heavy rain expected throughout this week

The rainy season officially started Wednesday, with up to 150 milliliters of rainfall expected to hit the central part of the peninsula through Thursday.

The state weather agency forecast that the country would be under the rainy spell until the end of July, with up to 20 percent more precipitation than previous years.

Over the weekend, typhoon Meari, which is heading north from the Philippines, is expected to affect country, the Korea Meteorological Administration said.

According to the agency, the rainfall started Wednesday morning, pounding major cities in the center of the peninsula. In the South Jeolla area, more than 20 milliliters of rain fell, with the front moving north to Seoul.

The heat wave that gripped the country subsided as Seoul marked 26 degrees Celsius on Wednesday afternoon. But in Gangneung, Gangwon Province, tropical night syndrome was reported Tuesday midnight for the first time this year, due to humid weather that could continue for a while. The rain is expected to cover the peninsula through early next week, when the country will experience a lull in rainfall.

The KMA said people need not to be too concerned about Meari though it’s on its way toward Korea. The KMA said the storm was moving quite slowly from the Philippines and is expected to get close to the Korean peninsula in three to four days. It will be cloudy with showers throughout the weekend and Monday, but Korea will not be badly affected, the agency said.

“We are watching the movement of the storm. Korea will be rather ‘indirectly’ affected,” Chung Kwan-young, a KMA official, said.

Prime Minister Kim Hwang-shik on Wednesday ordered public officials to take extra care on safety and security at vulnerable facilities nationwide including the four-river refinement construction sites and burial pits of culled livestock to prevent the spread of foot-and-mouth disease.

“This year we are expected to have more rain. The government will be ready to protect the safety and property of citizens,” he said in a staff meeting Wednesday morning.

By Bae Ji-sook (