SEOUL – Powerful Typhoon Lingling was approaching the Korean Peninsula on Saturday, forcing Seoul’s government to activate alerts due to strong wind gusts and heavy rains.
Lingling, the 13th typhoon of the Pacific season, was at 11 am local time (0200 GMT) about 120 kilometers west of the South Korean coastal town of Boryeong, about 140 kilometers (87 miles) south of Seoul, according to the Korean Meteorological Administration.
The typhoon, the intensity of which is rated “powerful,” was blowing in with winds of about 140 kph and traveling northward at about 40 kph.
It is believed that the storm could generate “record” gusts of up to 200 kph, capable of tipping cars and boats and knocking down trees, in some islands of the Yellow Sea.
Lingling is expected to continue moving along South Korea’s west coast to land in the North Korean province of South Hwanghae late Saturday, according to KMA forecasts.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un chaired an emergency meeting on Friday to coordinate preparations with the army to mitigate the effects of the storm, the regime’s media reported.
It is believed that Lingling could be the worst typhoon to hit the peninsula since Typhoon Bolaven, which in 2012 left 15 dead in South Korea and caused damages of more than $500 million.