What I thought was a little rainfall has apparently turned into a downpour, which in turn has transformed into a flooding all throughout Seoul and is now being called the worst rainstorm to hit South Korea in over a century. Hailing from sunny California (around the Los Angeles area), I’ve never experienced this kind of weather before and I certainly didn’t expect to experience it at the end of July! So, for all of those who wish to say informed on the situation out here…this is the 411 so far.
Heavy rainfall, averaging roughly around 60 millimeters an hour, with strong gusts, accompanying thunder and lightning has been wreaking havoc on my umbrella since Tuesday. Seoul has seen more than 400 millimeters of rain, triggering flash floods and landslides throughout the city so far. We are expecting to see another 250 millimeters of rain up until Friday (today), which really has everyone on edge about a rising tally of damages, possible deaths, and whether it’s time to start building that arc. So far, the death toll has risen to 59 with 12 others still missing, which in turn has led to a lot of finger pointing within the Korean government.
The torrential rainfall has caused the closure of dozens of roads, the loss of hundreds of homes and many landslides including one that occurred early Wednesday morning just a little after midnight at a mountain resort in Chuncheon. The incident claimed the lives of 11 university students and injured many others. The students from Inha University in Incheon were there doing volunteer work at a nearby elementary school during their summer vacation. Another landslide occurred in a suburb in southern Seoul and left 17 people dead. Steadily rising waters at a stream in Gwangju, Gyeonggi Province killed six people, and three bodies were found after a landslide in Paju just north of Seoul.
Judging by the sound of the rain pounding on my window, it’s really hard to believe that it’s going to stop any time soon. While many meteorologists are predicting the rain to end today, there are still some who say it will last until as late as Tuesday. Keeping that in mind, let’s be on our guard, but hope for the best. I’ll be updating this post if there’s any further breaking news. Until then, be safe and keep dry.