Typhoon Hinnamnor hits South Korea, causing flooding, damage


SEOUL – Thousands of people were evacuated and 66,000 homes left without power in South Korea after Typhoon Hinnamor hit the country’s south on Tuesday.

The Korea Meteorological Administration said the storm made landfall at around 4:50 a.m. local time, bringing strong winds and heavy rains that inundated facilities, caused landslides and damaged roads, before returning to sea two hours later. The hurricane weakened before arriving but still generated maximum sustained winds of over 90 mph.

About 3,500 people, mostly in the south of the country, have been evacuated from their homes, according to the Ministry of Interior and Safety.

Officials said one person died in Pohang after being swept away by flood waters. Authorities later said another had died in the nearby city of Gyeongju. Ten people are missing, including eight who disappeared in a flooded car park in Pohang.

Typhoon Hinnamnor hits South Korea, causing devastating winds

The hurricane disrupted industries across the country, forcing some to suspend operations. Fires broke out at a steel plant in Pohang, and its operator, POSCO, was investigating whether the typhoon was to blame. Local media reported that a vacation property was also washed away by floods in Pohang. The Busan Ilbo newspaper reported that the Korei Nuclear Power Plant near Busan has partially suspended operations due to an “anomaly” caused by the typhoon.

South Korean President Yoon Seok-yeol has urged residents not to lower their guard, even as the most serious threat appears to have passed. He said the timely evacuation prevented a more serious situation from occurring.

The typhoon also affected North Korea, dumping more than 4 inches of rain over dozens of areas in the country over the past two days, the Korean Central News Agency said Tuesday.

South Korea’s military said, apparently in response to the downpour, North Korea released water from a dam near its southern border. North Korean authorities did not notify the South of the dam’s opening, despite repeated requests from Seoul.

North Korea’s official newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, called for “maximum preparedness” as the storm approaches, especially in the agricultural sector. “If we fail to prevent hurricane damage, we will lose the precious crops that we have been suffering for all spring and summer,” she said. North Korean observers said the country’s autumn harvest is likely to be affected by bad weather this year.

Growing food shortages and widespread malnutrition in the isolated country could exacerbate the chronic humanitarian situation. Since North Korea closed its borders at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, nearly all international trade has been suspended and foreign aid, including coronavirus vaccines, has largely failed to reach the country.

Hurricanes regularly pass through the Pacific Ocean between June and November each year. But climate scientists have warned that extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and harmful as a result of global warming.