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Typhoon Lingling approaches S. Korea

A powerful typhoon is quickly moving northward to South Korea, with rain and strong winds seen on the country's southernmost island of Jeju Friday afternoon.

Typhoon Lingling, this year's 13th typhoon, passed over seas 430 kilometers southwest of Jeju at a speed of 38 kph as of 3 p.m., according to the Korea Meteorological Association.

Its central pressure was 945 hectopascals, and the maximum wind speed near its center was 45 meters per second, or 162 kph. Strong gusts like this can topple cars and ships, and uproot trees.

The weather agency warned that the wind speed may peak at 55 meters per second, or 200 kph, in some island areas.


At the current speed, the typhoon is expected to reach seas 150 kilometers northwest of Jeju by 3 a.m. on Saturday and seas 110 kilometers west of Seoul by 3 p.m. the same day.

It is then forecast to hit the North Korean province of Hwanghae at 4 p.m. as it picks up speed, according to the weather agency.

South Korea is bracing for the powerful typhoon, with a preliminary typhoon warning issued across the country.

"Record-breaking winds will be seen at islands and southern and western coastal areas," the weather agency said, advising local governments and residents to take precautionary measures.

Tension ran high in Jeju, where the typhoon is expected to land first. A typhoon alert was scheduled to go into place as of 6 p.m.

The provincial government has suspended entrance to Hallasan National Park, the country's highest mountain, and Jeju International Airport has cancelled 11 departing flights and 14 arriving flights.

Ocean routes also have been blocked, with most of the 14 passenger ships that operate between Jeju and other parts of the country cancelled.

The central government and municipal governments across the country have implemented precautionary measures to minimize damage from the powerful storm.

The Ministry of Interior and Safety held a meeting at the Seoul government complex to discuss pan-government safety measures and raised the typhoon warning level by one notch.

Most municipal governments have suspended entrance to outdoor trekking routes and camping parks and rescheduled weekend events.

Port cities are especially taking caution with more than 300 cargo vessels evacuated in docks in Incheon, the country's second-largest port city, just west of Seoul.

Typhoon Lingling is comparable to Typhoon Bolaven in 2012 in terms of its route and power.

Typhoon Bolaven's maximum wind speed reached 51.8 meters per second, recording the sixth-strongest gust in the country since 1959. It killed at least 15 people and caused property damage of 636.5 billion won ($532 million). (Yonhap)