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Typhoon Chanthu passes near Jeju, flooding roads, homes, canceling flights

Firefighters respond to a downed streetlight in Jeju, South Korea, on Thursday, in this photo provided by the Jeju Fire Safety Headquarters. (Yonhap)
Firefighters respond to a downed streetlight in Jeju, South Korea, on Thursday, in this photo provided by the Jeju Fire Safety Headquarters. (Yonhap)
As Typhoon Chanthu passed near Jeju, it brought drenching rain and high winds, flooding low-lying neighborhoods, striking trees and a streetlight, and grounding flights.

The Korea Meteorological Administration said the typhoon came the nearest to the island at around 7 a.m. Friday, passing 60 kilometers south-southeast of the city of Seogwipo. It moved eastward along the Korea Strait, a sea passage between South Korea and Japan, at the speed of 21 kph.

The season's 14th typhoon has already soaked the island with more than 1,000 millimeters of rain in some mountainous areas since early this week, as it was inching closer to the island from the south.

Overnight, it downed trees and a streetlight, tore away parts of a guard rail, and submerged roads and farmland, according to the Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters. No injuries were reported.

From 12-6 a.m. Friday, firefighters responded to 16 reports of overwhelmed drainage systems. Some 60 reports on structural damage have come in since Monday when the island began seeing the typhoon's indirect effects.

The island's government blocked the entry to scores of low-lying areas that are prone to flash flooding and landslides. On Friday morning, 23 flights to and from Jeju were canceled and 48 ferries on 29 routes connecting the island and other parts of the country have been grounded.

As of 6 a.m., up to 50 mm of rain fell on the island, with powerful winds of 30-40 meters per second. The weather agency warned of continuing torrential rain of up to 80 mm during the day. A typhoon advisory has been issued for the island, its nearby waters, Busan, and some parts of South Jeolla and Gyeongsang provinces.

In some southwestern cities, including Yeosu and Suncheon, 196 residents were temporarily evacuated for fear of landslides and some 130 people could not return to their homes. (Yonhap)

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