Cheonggye Stream in central Seoul (Yonhap)
South Korea's weather agency issued heavy rain alerts for Seoul, its surrounding areas and other regions Saturday, putting the country's key disaster management body in an emergency mode.
The Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) said that rains of 30 millimeters to 50 millimeters per hour have hit some affected regions with strong gusts, thunder and lightning.
The heavy rain warnings were applied to Seoul, and Yeoncheon and Paju in Gyeonggi Province. The KMA also issued downpour advisories for other parts of Gyeonggi Province and Incheon, as well as swaths of Gangwon, Chungcheong and Jeolla provinces.
Some parts of the areas under the alerts could see precipitation ranging from 50 mm to 80 mm between Saturday and noon on Sunday, the KMA said.
In Seoul's southwestern ward of Gwanak, a man in his 80s was swept away in a rapid at around noon. He was rescued but died despite emergency care, police said.
About 25 people in Gwanak were briefly isolated as heavy rains lashed the area, but they were rescued.
Some streets in the Gangnam ward were flooded on Saturday afternoon, according to social media posts.
At 10 a.m., the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters went into emergency mode, directing relevant officials to prepare for possible floods in vulnerable spots, such as underground paths and riverside parking lots.
The interior ministry officials called for restrictions on citizens' access to mountain valleys, as well as riverside and coastal areas, to prevent any accidents from torrential rains.
They also asked those who may use temporary shelters after being displaced by floods to keep complying with quarantine rules to prevent COVID-19 contagion.
Heavy rain warnings are made when an area is projected to record at least 90 mm of precipitation for three hours or 180 mm for 12 hours. The advisories are issued when a region is forecast to see 60 mm of rain for three hours or 110 mm for 12 hours. (Yonhap)