Cars slowed and stopped on icy roads and bundled-up commuters carefully navigated snow-covered pavements as a snowstorm swept through the South Korean capital of Seoul and nearby regions, extending a frigid cold spell that has gripped the country.
There were no immediate reports of serious disruptions or damage caused by the snow, ice and sub-zero temperatures as of Thursday afternoon, and officials lifted a heavy snow warning for the area after the snowfall weakened following morning commuting hours.
Air traffic was mostly back to normal, recovering from considerable disruption caused by a snowstorm that hit the southern resort island of Jeju earlier this week and resulted in the cancellation of hundreds of flights and stranded tens of thousands of travellers who visited the island during the Lunar New Year holidays.
Morning temperatures in the region fell to about minus 10 degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit) and more than 5cm (2 inches) of snow was recorded in Seoul in the 24 hours, while neighbouring Gyeonggi province and Incheon saw 6-8cm (2.3-3 inches) of snowfall.
The country’s weather agency forecast similar weather for Friday, prompting officials to warn that driving conditions could worsen after a hard freeze of snowy surfaces. About 2,100 public workers and 1,100 vehicles were deployed to spray more than 3,100 tonnes of snow-clearing chemicals and salt on main roads and expressways to prevent them from being dangerously slick during commuting hours, according to the Ministry of the Interior and Safety.
While the country has so far avoided notable traffic accidents, approximately 540 homes, mostly in the greater Seoul area, reported that their water pressure gauges or pipes had frozen over and burst.