SEOUL • The temperature in South Korea hit a record high yesterday amid a scorching mid-summer heatwave, the weather services agency said.
The mercury touched 40.7 deg C in Hongcheon, a town in the country's north-eastern province of Gangwon, at midday, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA).
It was the highest temperature recorded in the country since the KMA started compiling data in 1907.
The previous high of 40 deg C was logged in the south-eastern city of Daegu in North Gyeongsang province on Aug 1 in 1942.
Temperature in the capital Seoul reached a daily high of 39.6 deg C at midday, also the highest since 1907. The previous high was 38.4 deg C recorded on July 24, 1994.
The unusually sweltering heat came after the rainy season ended earlier than usual. The rainy season in the country's central region lasted for just 16 days, half of the average period from 1981 to 2010.
Twenty-seven people have died of heatstroke and more than 2,200 people have been taken to hospital for heat-related conditions as of Tuesday, according to the Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
While several factors are behind the heatwave this year, the main cause is the high atmospheric pressure from northern China and southern Mongolia which has expanded to reinforce the North Pacific anticyclone, a KMA official said. "Being under high atmospheric pressure means the air from above circulates downwards. And because of the clear skies, the air is heated and the cycle is repeated, resulting in the high temperatures."
The heat will continue till the end of the week, said the agency.
XINHUA, KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK