|Kim Boo-kyum, head of the Ministry of the Interior and Safety, is briefed at the Central Government Complex in Seoul, Friday, about Typhoon Yagi's trajectory and the ongoing heat wave. / Yonhap|
By Lee Suh-yoon
Media and social media feeds are buzzing again over the possibility that an approaching typhoon might finally deal a death blow to the record-breaking heat wave that has plagued the nation for nearly a month.
Some have even nicknamed the impending typhoon a "hyoja typhoon." Hyoja is a Korean word referring to a devoted son who takes good care of his parents.
|The predicted trajectory of Typhoon Yagi, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration, Friday. / KMA website|
According to the national weather agency, Typhoon Yagi – goat in Japanese – will take a curved trajectory toward the Korean Peninsula, reaching North Korea's western coast by Tuesday morning. It is also expected to bring rain to the southwestern coast on Monday, on its way to North Korea. Yagi is the year's 14th tropical storm.
The Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) prediction shows the storm will pass along North Korea's border with China. This may nudge out the high-pressure systems locked over the peninsula but probably not with enough force to end the heat wave.
Nonetheless, an influx of cold air from the north, when coupled with the hot and humid atmosphere hanging over the country, could still lead to heavy rain and cooler temperatures.
But the Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Hawaii and Japan's weather agency have forecast that Yagi will bend further into the peninsula, passing directly through the lower half of North Korea and into the East Sea.
If that happens, the heat wave could end, but Seoul and its surrounding areas could come under the influence of the typhoon, which may take a toll.
The KMA also said it is possible Typhoon Yagi may veer away from the peninsula toward inland China, meaning the heat wave could continue throughout next week.
The typhoon's predecessors, Jongdari and Shanshan, failed to ease the heat wave, slipping past the peninsula and even pushing up temperatures in some areas.
Public excitement this time, however, is fueled by a slight drop in temperatures this week following sporadic rain showers. The average temperature dropped slightly below 30 degrees Celsius on Thursday, showing signs of a breach in the high pressure systems locked over the peninsula for the past three weeks.
"The heat is at least bearable now before daybreak," Kim Jin-ae, a former architect and politician, tweeted on Friday morning. "I will tolerate the heat just until Independence Day (Aug. 15). Heat wave, be gone!"
The heat wave, soon entering its fourth week, has led to over 40 deaths since May, with over 3,500 hospitalized due to heat-related illnesses.