South Korea raised its storm alert level on Wednesday as a powerful typhoon, expected to be stronger than the one that hit the nation last week, sped toward the southern coastline.
Strong winds and heavy rain is expected for the entire Korean peninsula with downpours measuring more than 400-millimeters falling on Jeju Island and the eastern coastal regions of Gyeongsang and Gangwon provinces, according to South Korea’s Meteorological Administration.
Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said Typhoon Maysak was likely to be similar in strength to 2003’s Typhoon Maemi, which left more than 100 people dead and more than five trillion won (about $4.2 billion) in damages.
Typhoon Maysak is expected to make landfall early Thursday west of the southern city of Busan before making its way up the eastern coastline to North Korea, where the country’s state media said “urgent measures” were being taken to minimize damage to crops.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un expressed relief during an inspection tour Friday that the previous typhoon had dealt only a glancing blow to his nation’s already-suffering agricultural sector.
South Korea’s Forest Service warned of possible landslides with the typhoon worsening the already weak soil from a month of persistent rainfall. Vice Minister of Health Kim Gang-lip urged South Koreans to stay home.
“We strongly advise our citizens not to go outside,” Kim said. “We need to minimize casualties.”
Hundreds of domestic flights have been canceled and more than 2,000 ships have been evacuated to ports. The coast guard designated seas south and east of the peninsula as danger zones and restricted ships from operating in affected routes.
Typhoon Maysak, named after a Cambodian tree, hit Japan’s Okinawa on Tuesday, causing power outages to more than 30,000 households, according to Okinawa Electric Power Co. The typhoon also brought down trees and overturned cars.
South Korea’s weather agency warned of another typhoon, Haishen, to make landfall early next week.
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