Season's coldest weather grips South Korea to below minus 20C

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Seoul, Dec. 15 (BNA): The entire nation came under the grip of a cold wave Tuesday, with temperatures dipping below minus 20 C in mountainous areas of Gangwon Province, east of Seoul.


The Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) issued a cold wave alert or advisory for most parts of South Korea, excluding coastal areas and the southern island of Jeju, as the mercury dropped to the season's record lows of minus 23.5 C in Hongcheon, 100 kilometers east of Seoul, and minus 22.7 C in PyeongChang, a mountain resort town in Gangwon Province, as of 6 a.m., according to South Korean News Agency (Yonhap).


Morning lows in the central regions also dipped to the season's lowest, with Seoul recording minus 11 C and Cheonan of South Chungcheong Province minus 11.5 C, the weather agency said.


The southern regions also recorded sub-zero temperatures, with the mercury falling to minus 5.6 C in Busan, minus 5 C in Gwangju and minus 6.8 C in Daegu.


On top of the frigid cold weather, heavy snow fell in the western coastal areas and Jeju Island, prompting the KMA to issue a heavy snow alert for those areas and the East Sea island of Ulleung.


As of 5 a.m., 5 to 15 centimeters of snow fell along the western coastal areas of South Jeolla Province, while up to 30 cm of snow is forecast for Jeju's mountain areas during the day. Jeju police have already imposed traffic restrictions for some mountain roads on the island.


KMA officials said the cold wave will continue throughout the day in most regions, with daily highs forecast to remain below zero. They asked people to pay extra attention to personal health and cold-related damage to public safety and agricultural facilities.


Grappling with freezing cold weather, citizens in Seoul and other cities went to work in thick winter jackets.


"It's colder today than yesterday. From the moment I left my home, the air was very chilly. It was too cold while I was waiting for the bus," said an office worker who commutes from Goyang, Gyeonggi Province, to Seoul every day.