(LEAD) Scorching heat wave begins this week

유청모 / 2021-07-20 17:35:17
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(LEAD) heat wave-forecast
▲ This composite image depicts sweltering heat. (Yonhap)

▲ Construction workers eat ice cream to cool off from the sweltering heat during a break at an apartment construction site in Incheon, 40 kilometers west of Seoul, on July 20, 2021. (Yonhap)

(LEAD) heat wave-forecast

(LEAD) Scorching heat wave begins this week

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details in paras 4, 10-13; ADDS photo)

SEOUL, July 20 (Yonhap) -- A scorching heat wave is to hit the Korean Peninsula beginning this week, the state weather agency said Tuesday, without ruling out the possibility of extremely hot weather due to stagnant high-pressure air masses.

The Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) said that the seasonal monsoon period is to virtually end on the peninsula after some scattered rain showers nationwide in the day and full-scale sweltering heat will take over.

Daytime highs will rise by up to 3 C to above 35 C in many parts of the country starting Wednesday, the KMA said, noting the sensible temperatures will be higher by 1 C or more due to high humidity.

It forecast that the maximum daily temperature may soar up to 38 C in some regions.

The agency predicted that the nation may be hit by a so-called heat dome phenomenon from this week, as the North Pacific high pressure and the Tibetan high pressure, both containing hot air, are forecast to meet over the peninsula. A heat dome is a phenomenon in which high pressure stagnates in an area and acts like a pressure cooker lid to trap sweltering heat and continue to raise temperatures.

The KMA said it will issue more heat wave advisories and warnings nationwide, as temperatures are expected to rise further in the days ahead.

Residents in urban areas, in particular, will also suffer from the tropical night phenomenon, which occurs when the temperature does not fall under 25 C during the nighttime, it added.

"A scorching heat wave is to begin with the influx of the North Pacific high pressure. However, it is too early to tell whether extremely hot weather will unfold here as the Tibetan high pressure has yet to show any movement," a KMA official said.

"A sweltering heat wave will persist for the time being, but whether the heat dome phenomenon will actually occur remains to be seen due to variability linked to typhoons and other factors," the official explained.

The agency said the heat from Typhoon In-Fa, the sixth typhoon of 2021 which developed in the sea south of Japan's Okinawa over the weekend, will further push up temperatures on the peninsula. Typhoon In-Fa is forecast to head towards southern China.

This year's form of atmospheric pressure over the peninsula will be similar to that of 2018, when the nation was hit by its worst-ever heat wave with temperatures of close to 40 C, the agency said.

Unlike in 2018, however, the current atmospheric form will not be sustained, as the Tibetan high pressure will move to the west and the North Pacific high pressure will move to the east and south late this month, it noted.

Despite the virtual end of the monsoon season, meanwhile, heavy rain showers or typhoon-related downpours may continue to occur nationwide irregularly, it cautioned.


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