Ships are docked Tuesday in Yeosu, South Jeolla Province, as authorities prepare for the arrival of Typhoon Maysak, which is feared to be one of the strongest tropical storms to hit Korea in history. (Yonhap)
South Korea is preparing for another strong typhoon expected to strike Jeju Island and southern coastal areas from Wednesday through Thursday, likely as one of the most powerful typhoons ever to hit the country.
The Ministry of the Interior and Safety raised the alert level from “attention” to “caution” at 9 a.m. Tuesday and started running an emergency response team in preparation of Typhoon Maysak.
By 3 p.m., the ninth typhoon of the year was around 220 kilometers northwest of the Japanese island of Okinawa, advancing at a speed of 16 kilometers per hour toward the peninsula. With a maximum wind speed of 49 meters per second and an atmospheric pressure of 935 hectopascals at its center, it was categorized as a “very strong” typhoon.
The Korea Meteorological Administration forecasts Maysak to grow even stronger before it reaches Jeju Island on Wednesday morning and makes landfall in the southern coastal area early Thursday.
Winds of up to 35 meters per second can derail trains and cars and large rocks can be toppled when the wind exceeds 40 meters per second.
The national weather agency forecasts the typhoon to pass through Ulsan and some North Gyeongsang Province regions to later exit through Samcheok, Gangwon Province, which is similar to the path that Typhoon Maemi, one of the most devastating typhoons to hit the country with over 130 casualties, took in 2003.
If Maysak’s path shifts a little to the west, it could take a course similar to Typhoon Rusa, which killed over 80 in 2002.
Meteorologists warn Maysak could cause massive damage, as it is expected to come ashore with top winds surpassing 40 meters per second and a strong wind effect range of 400 kilometers, compared to Maemi’s 38 and Rusa’s 36 meters per second.
By Ko Jun-tae (firstname.lastname@example.org