Seoul, Sep 6 (EFE).- Typhoon Hinnamnor, possibly the most powerful storm to ever hit South Korea, has left at least one person missing and thousands evacuated along the southeastern coast during its passage through the country, local authorities reported Tuesday.
Hinnamnor made landfall near Geoje Island, southwest of the country’s second-largest city of Busan, at around 4.50 am, several hours earlier than expected, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA).
The storm, which packed winds of more than 140 kilometers per hour (87 miles per hour), returned to the sea after passing over the coastal city of Ulsan, 307 km (191 miles) southeast of Seoul, just over two hours later.
A 25-year-old man is missing in Ulsan after he fell into a stream early in the morning.
More than 3,400 people have been evacuated due to the risk of flooding and landslides in the provinces of South Jeolla, South Gyeongsang and Busan, nearly 15,000 people were also advised to evacuate, and more than 20,000 homes in these areas are without power.
Coinciding with the passage of the typhoon along the southeastern coast, a fire was also reported at Posco steel plants in the city of Pohang, located 270 kilometers southeast of Seoul, although the company has not yet confirmed whether the incident was caused by Hinnamnor.
Strong winds and two days of heavy rain due to the storm have affected 70 vessels on 50 sea routes and led to the cancellation of 251 flights at 12 airports in the country.
Ground transportation has also been affected, with 354 trains canceled or delayed and several roads and highways across the country partially closed, including the Olympic highway, one of the capital’s main arterial highways that runs along the southern bank of the Han river.
The KMA forecasts that Hinnamnor will continue to move northeast through the Sea of Japan (called the East Sea in the two Koreas).
After passing about 100 kilometers northeast of the South Korean island of Ulleung, still classified as a “strong” typhoon, a weakened Hinnamnor will move from 6 pm off the coast of the eastern Russian province of Primorye and the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido in the direction of the Sakhalin Strait. EFE