The heaviest snow so far this winter hit most parts of South Korea on Monday, disrupting road traffic and causing flight cancellations.
The Korea Meteorological Administration, or KMA, issued a heavy snow alert or warnings for some parts of Gyeonggi Province and the Chungcheong and Jeolla provinces as well as Jeju Island and Ulleungdo.
Snowfall hit record levels in many areas as this winter season saw barely any snow until now. Dokdo and Ulleungdo had the most snow in the country with 34.8 centimeters as of 9 a.m. Monday.
Snowfall in the Jeolla provinces and Gangwon Province exceeded 20 centimeters while Seoul saw up to 4.1 centimeters of snow, a record this season.
From December to Feb. 10, Seoul had recorded 1.1 centimeters of snow, the lowest level on record since weather authorities began to compile data in 1937, due to relatively warm weather.
Temperatures in Seoul, Gangwon Province and North Chungcheong Province plunged to minus 6 degrees Celsius, minus 6 C and minus 3 C, respectively.
The country’s west coast, in South Chungcheong Province and the Jeolla provinces, is expected to receive 5 to 10 centimeters of snow by Tuesday morning, while mountainous areas of Jejudo, Dokdo and Ulleungdo are forecast to see 10 to 30 centimeters.
Strong wind and snow disrupted dozens of flights to and from Jeju and Gangwon provinces and the Jeolla and Gyeongsang provinces.
In North Jeolla Province, access has been restricted to four routes to the West Sea. National parks in the area, such as Jirisan and Deokyusan, were cordoned off so hikers could not enter.
The state weather agency warned motorists to drive with increased caution due to icy road conditions.
“The roads in the mountains and (somewhat) mountainous areas will be frozen today and tomorrow, so drivers should have winter safety and emergency equipment in advance,” an official at the KMA said.
Temperatures are expected to drop sharply again Tuesday.
Temperatures in Cheorwon, Seoul and Busan will go down to minus 14 C, minus 8 C and minus 4 C, respectively. The cold snap is expected to abate from Wednesday.
By Park Han-na (firstname.lastname@example.org