Eight people killed as heavy rainfall floods Seoul area
At least eight people were killed as some of the heaviest rainfall in decades struck the Seoul area overnight, flooding homes, streets and subway stations, South Korean officials said on Tuesday.
Three of the dead, two sisters in their 40s and a 13-year-old girl, were found early on Tuesday as emergency workers pumped out the water that had flooded their semi-basement home in southern Seoul. Another was a municipal employee, apparently electrocuted while removing a tree that had fallen onto a sidewalk, the police said.
In addition to the eight confirmed deaths, officials said seven people were missing after floodwaters pulled them into manholes, underground passages or streams.
Nearly 17 inches of rain poured down in southern Seoul between early Monday and early Tuesday, roughly the same amount that falls in a typical summer month, weather officials said. In one district, 5.4 inches fell in a single hour, breaking an 80-year-old Seoul record.
The deluges continued Tuesday afternoon, and more heavy rain was expected on Wednesday in the capital area and in provinces east and south of it, the Korea Meteorological Administration said.
The flooding turned Seoul’s Monday evening rush hour into chaos. Some subway stations were closed, and drivers abandoned cars in the upscale Gangnam district as roads became impassable. Homes and other buildings experienced power outages.
Photos on social media showed commuters wading through waist-deep water, drivers stranded on car roofs and rainwater cascading down the steps of subway stations. Some of the images from Tuesday morning, after the floods receded, resembled a disaster movie.
Hiking paths in the mountains around Seoul were closed on Tuesday, and the government issued alerts warning that landslides were possible. Businesses were urged to adjust their working hours so employees could avoid traffic jams and potential hazards.
South Korea annually reports floods during its monsoon season.
New York Times News Service