North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

“The Rainy Season Has Come”

Photo: KBS World

Typhoon-5  Meari hit the Korean Peninsula on Sunday [26 June].  The storm was expected in Sinu’iju, North P’yo’ngan Province, on Monday [27 June] before hitting China’s east coast.  Xinhua reports:

Thousands of people have been evacuated amid storm-triggered floodings, authorities said Sunday.

The tropical storm is expected to make a landing near the city of Donggang, northeast Liaoning Province, or areas to the north of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea at Monday dawn, the National Meteorological Center said in its latest bulletin.

The storm was projected at the Yellow Sea, about 35 kilometers southeast off the coast of eastern Shandong Province, at 5 p.m. Sunday, according to the bulletin. The storm is moving north at 20 to 25 kilometers per hour, packing sustained gusts of 23 meters per second near its center.

Strong winds and heavy rain are forecast near the coasts of Shandong, Liaoning and the province of Jilin. The strength of the storm will be reduced after landing, the meteorological authorities said.

Off the coast of Shandong, the stormy weather sank or stranded three vessels on Sunday. Twenty-six people on board of the mishapped vessels have all been rescued, according to a spokesman with the provincial maritime safety administration.

Gales whipped through the Bohai Strait and over the northern part of the Yellow Sea while torrential rains pounded most parts of Liaoning, eastern Shandong, and part of Jiangsu Province on Sunday, raising water level of the Taihu Lake in Jiangsu to critical level at one point.

According to KCNA, the storm affected areas of South Hwanghae Province early Sunday morning:

Typhoon-5 Meari is moving northward at speed of 60 km per hour in the DPRK.

Strong wind of 10-13 m per second hit Haeju and Kaesong cities, Ongjin and Sepho counties and other areas from 03:00 to 09:00 Sunday.

Rainfall of 105 mm was registered in Hoeyang County, 90 mm in Kosong and Pongchon counties, 79 mm in Thongchon and Chongdan counties, 76 mm in Yonan County, 73 mm in Kosan County and 70 mm in Changdo County from 12:00 Saturday to 12:00 Sunday.

Tidal waves are foreseen to hit coastal areas of South Hamgyong Province and Kangwon Province on Sunday afternoon.

Even as Meari weakens and makes its way to the PRC, heavy downpours are expected in the Peninsula (at least the southern part) on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to KBS World:

Typhoon Meari has passed over waters west of Baeknyeong Island and is soon expected to reach the North Korean border city of Sinuiju.

The Korea Meteorological Administration forecasts the typhoon to weaken into an extratropical cyclone once it reaches Sinuiju Monday afternoon.

Rainclouds left by the typhoon will hang over South Korea on Monday, bringing five to 20 millimeters of more precipitation in the central region.

Skies over the nation will gradually clear up in the afternoon, but the monsoon front will return on Tuesday with showers falling over Jeju Island in the morning and the southern coastal regions by night.

People are urged to take precautions as a heavy downpour is forecast nationwide Wednesday.

On Friday Rodong Sinmun published an editorial about various instructions and measures to mitigate flooding and rain damage.  KCNA reported about Kim Cho’ng-il’s instruction “to establish measures well to prevent rainy season damage”:

A nationwide campaign has been launched in the country to prevent damage from heavy rainfalls.

Collieries and mines throughout the country are working on setting pit drainages in good condition.

In the sector of land and environmental conservation, necessary measures have been taken to improve reservoirs and streams and dredge rivers and waterways.

In the railway transport sector, a deep attention has been paid to protecting iron bridges, railways and other structures and facilities from flood and landslide.

Meanwhile, cooperative farms have directed much effort to preventing damage from flood and strong wind possible in the rainy season.

During the summer of 2010, the DPRK saw several hundred deaths and widespread damage due to heavy rains.  Some of the problems resulting from the rain could not be contained, and crossed the DPRK-ROK border such as box mines washing up in ROK, as well as malaria-infected mosquitoes caused by stagnant water.

A flooded village in Sinhu'ng, South Hamgyo'ng Province in KCTV footage from July 2010. (Photo: KCNA-Yonhap)

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June 2011