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South Korea Warns of Casualties as Super Typhoon Hinnamnor Approaches

South Koreas weather agency warned there may be casualties because the nation prepares for probably the most powerful storm in its history to create landfall early Tuesday.

Oil refiners to chemical operations and the nations oldest nuclear power plant began taking precautions with Super Typhoon Hinnamnor likely to hammer the resort island of Jeju and the main element industrial city of Ulsan on the countrys southeast coast after disrupting ports and air traffic across China and Japan.

Were now entering a phase where we need to minimize casualties, Han Sang Un, the principle forecaster at Korea Meteorological Administration, said throughout a briefing Monday, urging residents of southern coastal areas to stay indoors, instead of perform maintenance to get ready for the storms arrival.

Its an enormous typhoon with a 400-kilometer (248.5 miles) radius, that is big enough to cover Seoul to Busan. Most regions in Korea will experience intense rain and wind, he said. The typhoon will probably impact Jeju at about 1 a.m. local time Tuesday, and southern coastal cities at about 7 a.m., based on the administration.

Run rates of three reactors at the Kori Nuclear Power Plant were lowered to significantly less than 30% to get ready for the storm, while liquefied gas traders said they expected delays for some shipments in order to avoid the impact of the storm.

South Koreas biggest oil refiner SK Innovation Co. suspended crude vessels from entering its Ulsan port and is focusing on securing backup power at the plant, an organization spokesman said. GS Caltex Corp. evacuated ships to a safety zone, and LG Chem Ltd. is operating under a crisis response plan with strengthened safety tabs on its plants in Yeosu and Ulsan.

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State-owned Korea ENERGY Corp. was taking measures to make sure a stable way to obtain electricity. Subsidiary Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. lowered output at the Kori nuclear plant preemptively to protect against any abrupt disruptions if reactors are directly influenced by Hinnamnor.

The storm, that is forecast to be a lot more destructive in South Korea than Typhoon Sarah in 1959, was heading north-northeast at about 17 kilometers each hour, some 300 kilometers south-southwest off the coast of Jeju by noon Seoul time, based on the Korea Meteorological Administration. Hinnamnor happens to be packing sustained winds around 127 miles each hour with gusts as just as much as 155 miles one hour, based on the US Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

President Yoon Suk Yeol said the federal government will remain on its toes to safeguard the lives and safety of citizens, as the countrys Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho said there exists a concern that the worsening weather may impact consumer prices at the same time when inflation remains high.

Hinnamnor has recently disrupted port operations, airline services and schools across Asia since developing last month. Shanghais major container port of Yangshan was getting ready to resume terminal operations after a youthful halt, while South Koreas Busan and Ulsan ports have closed. Korean Air Lines Co. and Asiana Airlines Inc. canceled a lot more than 170 domestic flights for Monday and Tuesday, plus some airline arrivals and departures in japan prefecture of Okinawa were also scrapped. Some schools in both South Korea and China will undoubtedly be closed for safety reasons.

South Koreas top steelmaker Posco Holdings Inc. is considering a partial closure of its plant in Pohang and shipbuilders, including Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering Co. and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., were debating whether to prevent production, the firms said Monday.

Almost 200 residents in coastal regions of Busan, the nations second most populous city, were asked Monday to evacuate to shelters, while stores at Marine City in the Haeundae beach district were told to temporarily close.

With the help of Kevin Varley and Heejin Kim

E mail us at letters@time.com.

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