SEOUL, Sept 5 (Reuters) - South Korea raised its
typhoon-alert to its highest level on Monday as approaching
Typhoon Hinnamnor forced flight cancellations, the suspension of
some business operations and the closure of schools.
Heavy rain and strong wind pounded the south of the country
as the typhoon approached from the south at a speed of 33 km per
hour (20.5 mph). Hinnamnor is expected to make landfall
southwest of the port city of Busan early on Tuesday, after
reaching the holiday island of Jeju on Monday.
President Yoon Suk-yeol said he would be on emergency
standby, a day after ordering authorities to do their best to
minimise damage from the typhoon.
"Very strong winds and heavy rains are expected across the
country through to Tuesday due to the typhoon, with very high
waves expected in the coastal region along with storm and
tsunami," the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) said.
Hinnamnor is on a course that will take it northeast toward
Sapporo, Japan, it said.
South Korea classifies typhoons in four categories normal,
strong, very strong, super strong. "Very strong" typhoons like
Hinnamnor have wind speeds of up to 53 metres per second.
Warnings have been issued in the southern cities of Gwangju,
Busan, Daegu and Ulsan, as well as on Jeju, while the Central
Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters has upgraded
its typhoon alert level to the highest in its four-tier system,
for the first time in five years.
Busan city and neighbouring areas have received rain
throughout the weekend, with more forecast across the country
for Monday and Tuesday.
No casualties have been reported though more than 100 people
have been evacuated and some facilities have been damaged by
Shipbuilders Hyundai Heavy Industries, Daewoo
Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) and Samsung
Heavy Industries said they would halt operations
early on Tuesday.
A spokesperson for LG Electronics said it would
halt operations on Tuesday at its Gumi production facilities
that make large OLED TVs, while steelmaker POSCO is
halting operations at its production facilities including its
furnaces on Tuesday, the Yonhap news agency said.
SK Innovation, owner of South Koreas top
refiner SK Energy, said it asked carrier ships not to operate
until the typhoon passes.
Korean Air Lines and Asiana Airlines
have cancelled most of their Monday flights to Jeju Island,
according to their websites, while budget airlines such as Air
Seoul and Jin Air have cancelled some of their flights.
(Reporting by Joori Roh; Additional reporting by Joyce Lee and
Heekyong Yang; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)