Seoul residents battled the heaviest snowfall in modern Korean history after a winter storm dumped more than 10 inches (26 centimeters) on Jan 4, forcing airports to cancel flights and paralyzing traffic in South Korea’s bustling capital.  The snowfall, which began about 1 a.m. (1600 GMT Jan 3), was the worst since Korea began conducting meteorological surveys in 1937 and continued through the afternoon, the state weather agency said.

Seoul residents battled the heaviest snowfall in modern Korean history after a winter storm dumped more than 10 inches (26 centimeters) on Jan 4, forcing airports to cancel flights and paralyzing traffic in South Korea’s bustling capital.

 

The snowfall, which began about 1 a.m. (1600 GMT Jan 3), was the worst since Korea began conducting meteorological surveys in 1937 and continued through the afternoon, the state weather agency said.

 

Gimpo International Airport, west of Seoul, canceled 224 flights before resuming service Monday afternoon, airport official Choi Choon-ja said.

 

More than 20 flights between Incheon International Airport, 43 miles (70 kilometers) southwest of Seoul, and cities in China also were canceled, with China also coping with a snowstorm. More than 100 flights to other regions were delayed, Incheon airport official Kang Soo-kyung said.

 

The snow and icy roads snarled traffic in and out of Seoul, with many commuters squeezing into packed subway trains to get to work. About 3,600 workers were mobilized to clear the snow from Seoul’s roads and sidewalks.

 

One vendor in downtown Seoul said she began shoveling the sidewalk where she sells sandwiches from a truck at 9 a.m. (0000 GMT), and hadn’t stopped all day.

“It’s been nonstop,” said Moon In-ja, 53, her hair covered in snow. She said she didn’t dare brave the traffic to head back to her home in another part of Seoul, where she runs a business in the afternoons. “If I can’t drive now, I might as well stay and clean the street here.”

 

Beijing also was digging out Jan 4 from a weekend winter storm.

More than 3 inches (7.6 centimeters) of snow accumulated in the city center Jan 3, according to China’s National Meteorological Center. Citing meteorologists, state media said the snowfall was the highest in the capital for a single day in January since 1951.

 

Upward of 8 inches (20 centimeters) was recorded in the suburbs of Changping near the Great Wall of China, one of the country’s top tourist attractions.

Primary and middle schools were closed in Beijing and the nearby port of Tianjin, and with snow plows in short supply, more than 300,000 people were assigned to clear snow in the capital with shovels, scrapers and brooms.

 Authorities were guarding against building collapses and major traffic pileups, but none were reported, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

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