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Korea walloped by most snowfall in modern history

Associated Press / January 5, 2010

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SEOUL - Seoul residents slogged through the heaviest snowfall in modern Korean history after a winter storm dumped more than 11 inches yesterday, forcing airports to cancel flights and paralyzing traffic in the bustling capital.

The snow and icy roads snarled traffic in and out of Seoul, and at least three people died in traffic accidents. Many commuters squeezed into subways to get to work, and a Cabinet meeting was delayed because ministers were stuck in traffic.

The snowfall, which continued through yesterday afternoon, was the heaviest in a single day since Korea began conducting meteorological surveys in 1937, the state weather agency said.

Gimpo International Airport in western Seoul canceled 224 flights before resuming service when the snowfall stopped yesterday afternoon, airport official Choi Choon-ja said.

In southern South Korea, three people were killed in a traffic accident blamed on icy roads, according to the Yonhap news agency. However, officials said no deaths or serious property damage was directly related to the heavy snowfall.

About 3,600 workers and 5,000 soldiers were mobilized to clear the snow in Seoul and surrounding Gyeonggi Province, officials said. The snow forced American figure skater Michelle Kwan to cancel appearances in South Korea yesterday.