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Heavy snow sweeps Seoul, surrounding areas

Jan. 26, 2023 - 14:00 By Lee Jung-youn
Vehicles are backed up on the Gangbyeon Expressway near Mapo Bridge in Seoul on Thursday morning. (Yonhap)

Heavy snow fell around the central region on Thursday, putting local governments and power suppliers in emergency mode to prevent accidents and power outages.

A heavy snow advisory was issued for most of the Seoul metropolitan area and the west coast of South Chungcheong Province on Thursday morning. The advisory is issued when the amount of snow accumulated over 24 hours is expected to be more than 5 centimeters. As of 2 p.m., 3.5 cm of snow had accumulated in Seoul, 6.9 cm in Incheon, 8.5 cm in Pyeongchang, Gangwon Province and 9.9 cm in Taean, South Chungcheong Province.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government began an emergency work system for snow removal at 11 p.m. on Wednesday, deploying more than 9,400 workers and 1,390 snowplows. Gyeonggi Province and the city of Incheon are also focusing on quick snow removal, especially in areas which are likely to freeze.

The number of buses and subways were increased on Thursday to ease work commutes. The Seoul Metropolitan government increased the number of public transportation vehicles during the rush hour periods of 7 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Accidents caused by heavy snow and cold weather continued. At around 8:25 a.m., a truck hit a car near Bongdam IC passing through Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province, leading to a four-car collision and severe congestion on nearby roads. At around 9:20 a.m., a car passing by Dongjak Bridge in Seoul slipped, hit a street lamp and overturned. The driver in his 20s was injured, but there were no casualties.

A total of 524 cases of frozen water meters were reported from midnight to morning on Thursday, including 178 in Incheon and 171 in Seoul. In North Gyeongsang Province and Gyeonggi Province, there were also 16 reports of frozen water pipes.

Meanwhile, it was predicted that Thursday would be a critical moment for the nation's electricity supply and demand, as solar power generation is unlikely to play its role due to the heavy snow and the continued cold weather has increased power consumption.

Korea Electric Power Corp. said it inspected power transmission lines and power distribution lines in areas where apartments are concentrated during the holiday season, and has reinforced power distribution facilities in 1,442 traditional markets nationwide.