|Citizens walk through the streets of Gangneung, Gangwon Province, Monday. The east coast city has seen more than 1 meter of snowfall over the last five days, forcing many local residents to leave their cars at home. (Yonhap)|
Over a hundred schools were temporarily shut down, farm facilities were destroyed and roads were blocked on Monday as days of snow nearly paralyzed eastern parts of Korea.
According to the Korea Meteorological Administration, provinces along the east coast have been hit with 100 centimeters or more of snow since last Thursday.
Gangwon Province received the heaviest blow, with coastal cities Gangneung and Sokcho receiving 107.5 centimeters and 72.5 centimeters of snow, respectively.
Jinburyeong ― the mountain path linking Inje and Goseong counties ― was the hardest hit with 122 centimeters of snowfall as of 1 p.m. Monday. The accumulated snowfall in the area exceeded that of 2011, when Korea saw the heaviest snowfall in a century.
The heavy snow forced a total of 166 schools in Gangwon Province to temporarily shut down, according to Gangwon Provincial Office of Education. In the severely hit areas of Gangneung, Sokcho, Yangyang and Goseong, all but four schools ceased operations.
Bus and train services have also been scaled back. The Korea Railroad Corp. said it cut back operation of cargo trains and its tour program “Seatrain.”
Some dozen roads nationwide were blocked due to snow, and drivers passing along the Donghae (East Coast) Expressway and Daegwallyeong section of the Yeongdong Expressway were required to use winter equipment for their cars.
With the traffic disruptions, 397 remote villages in mountainous sections of Gangwon Province have become isolated.
The snow has also destroyed farm facilities, causing some 32 million won ($30,000) in property damage in Gangwon Province as of Monday.
The figure is preliminary and likely to rise after the cities and counties conduct thorough investigations.
Farmers in North Gyeongsang Province are also suffering as 164 facilities at 92 farms were reportedly damaged.
While the most of the damage was limited to the eastern coastal areas, police in North Chungcheong Province said Monday that the snow has led to a large number of traffic accidents.
Seoul and the Gyeonggi and Jeolla provinces also saw sporadic snowfall in the morning.
Tuesday’s weather is expected to be clear in most part of the country, but the KMA said 1-5 centimeters of snow is expected in Gangwon Province in the morning.
By Yoon Min-sik (firstname.lastname@example.org)