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Powerful Typhoon Sanba pounds S. Korea
by Staff Writers
Seoul (AFP) Sept 17, 2012

Typhoon Sanba, packing winds of 137 kilometres (85 miles) per hour, slammed into South Korea Monday, bringing torrential rains across the country and shutting down flights and ferry services.

Sanba -- the third major typhoon to hit the Korean peninsula in two months -- was roaring close to the southeastern city of Daegu Monday afternoon after making landfall at the southern port of Yeosu shortly before midday (0300 GMT).

Moving at around 35 kilometres per hour, the typhoon pounded the South Korean island of Jeju overnight Sunday, leaving around 10,000 homes without power and damaging roads. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

As it crossed southwestern Japan on Sunday, the typhoon had claimed one life and cut power to 100,000 households.

"Although its power is diminishing due to the low sea temperature, and is expected to diminish even more after making landfall, it's still a powerful typhoon," said a spokesman for the Korea Meteorological Administration.

Seoul authorities warned of heavy rainfall of nearly 300 millimetres (12 inches) in Jeju and southern coastal regions from Sunday to Monday night.

Severe storm alerts issued in southern regions earlier on Monday expanded to the entire country in the afternoon, the weather service said, adding floods warnings have also been issued in some areas.

"The entire nation will experience very strong wind and heavy rain as the typhoon moves northward," it said, urging "special caution" in the east coastal regions to be hit by downpour of up to 300 millimetres throughout Monday.

President Lee Myung-Bak urged officials to mobilise "all possible resources" to limit the impact on farming communities and farm produce prices ahead of a major holiday in late September.

"With the typhoon expected to roar right across the nation... please mobilise all possible resources including the army to minimise crop damages ahead of Chuseok (fall harvest) holiday," Lee's spokesman quoted him as saying.

As the typhoon made landfall, powerful winds uprooted large trees, ripped away business hoardings and advertising billboards and knocked over traffic lights.

Several train services were suspended or delayed due to landslide and strong wind that also caused power cuts which hit some 130,000 homes mostly in southern regions.

The typhoon is expected to move northeast across the peninsula and back out to sea over the North Korean port of Chongjin.

More than 260 flights -- including 52 international -- and all 88 ferry services across South Korea have been cancelled Monday, the transport ministry said, adding 2,000 ships had been taken out of the storm's path.

About 1,100 residents in areas deemed vulnerable have been taken to shelters, the National Emergency Management Agency said, while another 12,000 residents in other areas have been advised to evacuate.

Tens of thousands of officials have been on high alert, carrying out special inspections on all 15 airports across the nation. Thousands of schools in southern regions remained closed Monday.

Typhoons Bolaven and Tembin, which struck the peninsula in late August, left more than 20 people dead in the South, damaging farmland and hundreds of houses and causing power cuts that affected millions of homes.

North Korea's state media said Bolaven -- the strongest typhoon to hit the peninsula for almost a decade -- killed 59 people and left more than 26,000 people homeless.

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Powerful typhoon on course to hit Japan's Okinawa
Tokyo (AFP) Sept 15, 2012
A powerful typhoon packing winds of up to 270 kilometres (170 miles) per hour was churning towards Okinawa in southern Japan on Saturday, grounding nearly 80 flights, officials said. Typhoon Sanba, located in the Pacific about 310 kilometres south of Okinawa at 0700 GMT, was forecast to make landfall early on Sunday, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. It was expected to move over the ... read more

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