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Snow Blankets Korean Peninsula

korean-snow-image-110216-02
(Image credit: NASA)

While Americans are watching piles of snow slowly melt, residents along South Korea's east coast are struggling to dig out from the heaviest snowfall in more than a century, according to a NASA statement.

NASA's Aqua satellite acquired this natural-color image of the snowfall on Feb. 15.

The BBC reported that hundreds of stranded motorists awaited rescue, and hundreds of homes had collapsed under the weight of heavy snow. The South Korean government had deployed 12,000 soldiers to assist and rescue residents.

Agence France-Presse reported that the port city of Samcheok recorded 39 inches (100 centimeters) of snowfall on Feb. 11 and 12 the heaviest snowfall amount since recordkeeping began in 1911.

In the west, Seoul, the capital, escaped heavy snow, although the Han River froze over for the first time in years, according to the BBC.

The Chosunilbo reported that snow was expected to taper off for the east coast on Feb. 14, although some snow might fall inland, including Seoul.

The heavy snowfall arrived on the heels of South Korea's coolest January since the 1960s. The unusual cold might have been driven at least partly by the Arctic Oscillation (AO). A negative phase of the AO lowered temperatures in other parts of the Northern Hemisphere in January 2011.

Live Science Staff
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