Tuesday marked the 49th day of this year‘s monsoon, tying the record for South Korea’s longest rainy season since data has been recorded. With no letup in sight for this wet streak, the country is expected to break the record, set in 2013, at midnight.
According to the Korea Meteorological Administration, this year’s rainy season, which started on June 24, is forecast to continue until Aug. 16, with more heavy rains expected mostly in the capital Seoul and Gyeonggi and Gangwon provinces.
Jeju Island already broke its own record of 47 days set in 1998, as its monsoon season lasted for 49 days this year until it finally ended July 28.
Experts say the unusually long rainy season is an effect of climate change as global warming caused air in this part of the world to get warmer and hold more precipitation, resulting in extreme downpour. Not only Korea, but China and Japan have also experienced heavy rains this year that have triggered flooding crises.
In South Korea, it has been one of the deadliest monsoons on record. A total of 50 are dead or missing as of Tuesday. The number of casualties have remained the same from a day earlier, with no new reported fatalities.
More than 7,512 people from 4,349 households have seen their homes damaged, and 3,046 are still staying in nearby gymnasiums and community centers.
A total of 20,826 cases of property damage have been reported, with 12,356 of them concerning private property. Around 27,132 hectares of farmland have been inundated, while 5,485 residential buildings were damaged or flooded.
Repairs are around 56.1 percent complete, involving 11,692 of the reported cases.
As continued rain pushes up water levels in major rivers, including the Han River in the capital, two major highways and 71 regular motor roads have been closed across Korea. Train services are disrupted on five routes.
The death counts not include casualties from a boat accident near Uiam Dam in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province, as the case is categorized as a marine accident. Of eight people that were swept under water after three boats capsized, two were rescued, four were found dead and two others are still missing.
The national weather agency said the rain could slow down across the country Tuesday afternoon but will resume Thursday from an influx of northern wind and continue on until Sunday.
By Ko Jun-tae (email@example.com