High Wind Watch

Soulik to batter South Korea with wind, flooding into Friday

By Kristina Pydynowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
By Faith Eherts, AccuWeather meteorologist
August 23, 2018, 11:32:13 PM EDT

Severe Tropical Storm Soulik will sweep across South Korea with flooding rain and damaging winds into Friday.

As AccuWeather predicted, Soulik reached the equivalent of a Category 3 major hurricane in the Atlantic or eastern Pacific basins at its peak. Soulik has since weakened to a severe tropical storm.

Further weakening is expected after Soulik's landfall in southwestern South Korea.

Even as a tropical storm, Soulik will be capable of producing damaging wind gusts, flooding rainfall and dangerous coastal inundation across the mainland into Friday.

One woman is already missing on Jeju Island after reportedly being swept away by waves while taking a photo on Wednesday night, according to the Associated Press. Another man was injured.

new impacts Aug 23

"Between 75 and 150 mm (3 and 6 inches) of rain is expected across western and northern South Korea, which will likely be enough to cause flooding in some areas," AccuWeather Meteorologist Brian Thompson said.

Life-threatening flooding and mudslides can be triggered where Soulik unloads an AccuWeather Local StormMax of 250 mm (10 inches) in the mountains.

Motorists should avoid driving across flooded roadways. You risk not only your vehicle, but also your life and the lives of others. It is impossible to tell how deep the water is, and the road underneath may be compromised or washed out all together.

Damaged roads and bridges can cut remote areas off from receiving aid after the storm.

In addition to the heavy rain, Soulik's dangerous winds will be capable of downing trees and power lines, resulting in property damage and power outages. More than 6,500 homes have already lost power, according to Yonhap News.

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Earlier on Thursday, winds gusted to 103 km/h (64 mph) at the city of Jeju. Nearly 200 mm (8 inches) had inundated the city in the 12 hours ending Thursday morning. An additional 100 mm (4 inches) followed the next 12 hours.

Gusts between 65 and 95 km/h (40 and 60 mph) can further buffet the rest of southern South Korea and the country's eastern coast into Friday.

The winds can lead to coastal flooding in low-lying areas along the nation's southwestern, southern and eastern coast.

soulik new track Aug 23

Seoul is expected to escape the worst of the storm. Regardless, wind gusts to around 70 km/h (45 mph) and rainfall of 25-75 mm (1-3 inches) can occur into Friday morning. Further disruptions to the Friday morning commute can be anticipated.

Hundreds of flights have been canceled across South Korea, including at Seoul's Gimpo International.

Soulik forced over 7,800 schools to close, according to Yonhap News. Major ports have closed temporarily.

In the wake of Soulik, drier and more comfortable air will sweep across most of the peninsula on Friday afternoon into Saturday to aid in cleanup efforts.

However, the southern coast and Jeju Island will stay humid with showers returning on Saturday. This rain can spread farther to the north across the country on Sunday. Any substantial rainfall may trigger more flooding and mudslides where Soulik leaves the ground oversaturated.

Impacts from Soulik will not just be limited to South Korea. Flooding rain can spread over parts of North Korea, with the risk highest in the mountains, and neighboring northeastern China into Friday.

The risk for local flooding and sporadic wind damage can sweep over Primorsky Krai, Russia's far southeastern federal subject Friday night into Saturday morning.

Soulik may weaken to a non-tropical storm and bring some rain and gusty winds to the southern tip of Russia's Sakhalin Island or Japan's Hokkaido Island this weekend. Another scenario is that Soulik will get drawn over areas near the eastern border of Russia and China early in the weekend and dissipate over land.

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