SEOUL, Aug. 9 (Korea Bizwire) — Record rainfall, believed to be the heaviest in 115 years, has pummeled Seoul and surrounding regions, leaving nine people dead and six others missing while flooding homes, vehicles, buildings and subway stations, officials said Tuesday.
Parts of Seoul, the western port city of Incheon and Gyeonggi Province that surrounds Seoul received torrential rains of over 100 millimeters per hour Monday night, with per-hour precipitation in Seoul’s Dongjak district reaching 141.5 mm at one point.
The downpours left five people dead and four others missing in Seoul, while in Gyeonggi Province, three had died and two others had gone missing as of 6 p.m., according to the government. One person was found dead in Gangwon Province.
The Korea Meteorological Administration’s automated weather station in Dongjak recorded daily precipitation at 381.5 mm for Monday, far higher than the official record of 354.7 mm registered in August 1920 and the highest since the country started its first modern weather record system in 1907.
The 141.5-mm hourly precipitation in Dongjak also marks the highest number for Seoul, surpassing the record of 118.6 mm posted in the summer of 1942.
The weather agency said, however, the latest numbers will not go into the official record book because they were not collected at the agency’s benchmark weather observation station in Seoul’s Jongno district.
The weather agency said up to 300 mm of more rain is forecast for the capital area through Thursday, with southern Gyeonggi Province likely to see rains of more than 350 mm.
Nine people sustained injuries in Gyeonggi Province, and 441 people from 328 households in the capital area were left homeless and took shelter in schools and other public facilities.
In Seoul’s Gwanak district, three family members — a woman in her 40s, her sister and the sister’s teenage daughter — reported they were trapped in a submerged semi-basement home at 9:07 p.m. Monday but were later found dead.
In Dongjak, a ward office employee in his 60s died of what was believed to be electric shocks at 6:50 p.m. during clean-up work after a roadside tree fell down due to the rain.
An additional person was killed at 5:40 p.m. in a submerged home in the district.
In the city of Gwangju, Gyeonggi Province, one person was found dead trapped under the debris after a bus station collapsed, while one other died in the province after a landslip left him buried in earth.
The city of Hwaseong in Gyeonggi reported one person killed in a landslide at 4:27 a.m. Tuesday.
In Seoul’s Seocho district, four people went missing, some in a corridor of an underground shopping area and others down a manhole, while two others in Gyeonggi’s Gwangju remained unaccounted for after being swept away in a flooded stream.
One person in Gangwon was found dead in Hoengseong County following a landslide.
The overnight downpours also left many public facilities out of service, with eight cases of flooded railroads reported in Seoul, Incheon and elsewhere, and causing temporary suspension of services in sections of some railway and subway lines, including Seoul Subway Line 4 and the Gyeongin Line.
Ten railways in Seoul and 20 riverside parking lots were blocked for safety concerns, while three banks collapsed.
Entry into 156 hiking courses at five national mountain parks, including Mount Bukhan in the northern periphery of Seoul, remain barred. Nine passenger ferry routes also remained out of service as of Tuesday.
Authorities also closed sections of some highways in Seoul on Tuesday morning, including the Olympic and Dongbu expressways.
Fire authorities also rescued 88 people from flooded streams in Gyeonggi and other areas, the government also said.
By Tuesday afternoon, much of the disrupted public services were back on track, including Seoul Subway Line 9 where flooding partly suspended operations. Some road controls on the Olympic highway were lifted.
But as heavy rainfall began to lash the Seoul metropolitan area again at about 6 p.m., some northern parts of Seoul Subway Line 3 suspended operations for about 30 minutes due to overflowing before resuming the service at 6:25 p.m.
The entire Seoul section of the Dongbu Expressway that runs through the eastern area of the capital city was restricted again.
The interior ministry upgraded its flood damage watch level from “alert” to the highest “serious” at 1 a.m. Tuesday.
As of 6 a.m., the country’s central and other regions were receiving rains of up to 50 mm per hour, with the accumulated precipitation in Seoul reaching 422 mm from Monday through 8 a.m. Tuesday, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration.
The Korea Forest Service issued landslide advisories in 47 cities and counties across the nation Tuesday morning, including in nine districts in Seoul, parts of Incheon, Gyeonggi, Gangwon, and North and South Chungcheong provinces.