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Nation braces for strongest typhoon in decades

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Published : 2012-08-27 20:48
Updated : 2012-08-27 20:48

Authorities on Monday braced for the strongest typhoon to hit the nation in decades, closing ports and schools and urging residents living along its expected route to stay indoors.

Typhoon Bolaven, with winds gusting at up to 48 meters per second, was on track to make a direct hit in Korea on Monday, roaring away from Japan’s Okinawa. Reports said at least six were injured and thousands were left without power in Japan, as the typhoon caused massive blackouts. 
A Chinese fishing vessel that came into Jeju Island’s coastal waters as an emergency measure against Typhoon Bolaven fights the waves near the shoreline of Seogwipo in southern Jeju, as the storm system approached the southern island on Monday. (Yonhap News)

“This is slightly weakened, but is still a very strong typhoon,” the Korea Meteorological Agency said in a press briefing.

“It is likely to batter the southern island of Jeju the hardest at around 3 p.m. Monday and then transit near the west coast, making its closest approach to Seoul at around 2 p.m. Tuesday.”

As of 2 p.m. Monday, the storm was moving northward from waters some 400 kilometers south of Jeju. It had winds of 48 meters per second, the KMA said.

It is the strongest to strike the nation since Typhoon Rusa in 2002, which killed more than 200, the weather agency said.

Rainfall totals from the storm could reach as much as 300 millimeters on Jeju and in southern coastal areas. Seoul and Gyeonggi Province are forecast to receive rainfall of 50-100 millimeters.

All kindergartens and schools in Seoul will be closed Tuesday, the capital’s educational board said Monday, while authorities in other cities and provinces were mulling similar steps.

The central disaster relief headquarters urged people to secure any loose objects outside in advance and ride out the storm indoors.

By Lee Sun-young (milaya@heraldcorp.com)