Schools closed, flights canceled as coldest day of the season grips South Korea

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Temperatures plummeted in South Korea and parts of the country saw heavy snow from Thursday, causing many flights to be cancelled and schools ordered shut.

A number of traffic accidents were also reported overnight due to poor visibility and slippery roads.

The country experienced the coldest day of the season on Friday, with the morning low plummeting to minus 13.6 degrees Celsius in capital Seoul, the South Korean weather agency said.

Winds brought temperatures to as low as minus 22 degrees Celsius, the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) said.

The freezing temperatures were accompanied by heavy snow in the southern part of the country, including the Chungcheong and Jeolla areas, and the southern resort island of Jeju.

The weather agency said inland and mountainous areas of Gangwon province, in the north-east, saw temperatures dropping to morning lows of minus 20 degrees Celsius and minus 26.3 degrees Celsius, respectively.

It said the frigid weather occurred under the influence of high pressure, which is expected to continue until Christmas on Sunday.

On Friday, North Jeolla province shut 45 kindergartens, 73 elementary schools, 43 middle schools, 10 high schools, and two special schools.

A total of 165 educational institutions, including 34 kindergartens and 74 elementary schools, delayed the opening of school for 30 minutes to an hour.

Most flights to and from Jeju island were cancelled, including all flights scheduled for Friday morning.

Originally, a total of 178 flights, 90 departures and 88 arrivals, were scheduled to operate on Friday, but as at 9 am on Friday, 73 flights were canceled.

This follows the cancellations on Thursday of 296 flights, 143 departures and 153 arrivals, due to anticipated poor weather conditions at Jeju Airport.

The authorities issued a strong-wind advisory for Jeju Airport until midnight on Saturday, and it remained unknown when flights would resume.

Passenger ferries linking the mainland to Jeju island were also cancelled owing to a strong-wind advisory, transport officials said.

The KMA has also warned of strong winds and rough seas for many coastal areas across the country.

In the southern regions, for the second day running on Friday, heavy snow led to car accidents, road closures and flight cancellations, according to media.

Heavy-snow advisories were issued for areas in the south such as Chungcheong and Jeolla, the KMA said.



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