Sunday, April 8, 2012

Winter that is jealous of the flowers of spring

It's called 꽃샘추의 (gossaem ch'ui) in Korean. It refers to a cold snap that come after spring has already sprung.

Like the Sylvester Stallone movie Daylight, only not in a tunnel.

Apparently Seoul is experiencing a jealous winter's return unlike any in quite sometime. It's snowing a week into April and winds were so bad that it forced a train on Seoul subway's green line to shut down while crossing Chamshil Bridge in the southeastern part of the city.

The weather has been wild enough that the Wall Street Journal commented on it:
For many people waiting for flowers to bloom in South Korea, it is winter all over again on Tuesday, as snow and strong winds sweep the country.

In Seoul, it snowed in April for the first time since 1993. Since the country started its systematic weather forecast in 1907, it snowed in Seoul only 29 times in April.

The Korea Metrological Administration issued a heavy-snowfall warning in the eastern parts of the country, which are expected to have as much as 20 cms of snow today.

The agency said a low pressure zone has settled on central Korea, bringing freezing winds, rain, and even snow. As it is moving east, it will affect the country’s eastern coast until Wednesday afternoon.

The strong winds are leaving their mark.

In Jeju, where a warning against strong typhoon-force winds and wind shear, or a rapid change in winds, was issued, more than 40 flights were canceled and 16 flights delayed as of midday Tuesday. All ferries were grounded due to high waves.

In Youngam, a southwestern city, typhoon-strength winds toppled a 25-ton crane at a shipyard onto a parking lot, destroying ten cars and disrupting electricity supply in nearby plants. No injuries were reported.
Yikes. I guess I shouldn't complain about the boring weather we have here in the islands. To be honest, though, I was just remarking to someone a couple days ago that I miss Korean winters. I'd like to see snow at least once. We do have it in Hawaii, but it's way over on the Big Island, high up on Mauna Kea.

Anyway, I think I remember that April snowfall in 1993. It was April 10, and it did seem odd to have snow so far into spring. On the other end, the earliest snowfall I recall in Seoul was on October 31, but I can't remember what year. Sadly, the only time I remember a White Christmas was maybe 2005.

Anyway, folks. Stay warm! If you can, take advantage of some spring skiing.

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