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Tropical Storm Dianmu Strengthens on Path to Korea, Japan

Tropical Storm Dianmu is forecast to strengthen as it approaches the Korean peninsula today, the U.S. Navy Joint Typhoon Warning Center said.

Dianmu’s sustained winds had intensified to 97.2 kilometers per hour, according to a Korean Meteorological Administration bulletin issued at 1 a.m. local time. If sustained winds exceed 117 kilometers, the storm would be reclassified as a typhoon.

Dianmu was about 450 kilometers (280 miles) south-southwest of Seoul and moving northeast at 20 kph, according to the Japanese Meteorological Agency. It will pass over the southern part of the Korean peninsula before heading into the Sea of Japan, the Korean administration’s tracking map shows.

The storm is skirting China’s northeast coast in the East China Sea, dumping more rain in Shandong province, where torrential downpours on Aug. 8 forced the evacuation of 158,000 residents, China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs said.

Floods caused the collapse of 3,000 homes and damaged more than 159,000 hectares of farmland in Shandong, the ministry said.

Flooding caused by heavy rain has been the deadliest in more than a decade, killing 1,450 people throughout China this year as of Aug. 6, the ministry said. More than 660 people are missing after floods demolished 1.36 million homes and damaged 13.5 million hectares (33.3 million acres) of farmland, causing 275 billion yuan ($40.6 billion) of damage.

Last week in North Korea, floods wrecked thousands of homes, public buildings and factories and submerged about 14,850 hectares of farmland, North Korea’s state-run Korea Central News Agency reported on Aug. 6. Railways were blocked, power equipment broken and bridges destroyed in the deluge, the news service said.

Dianmu is the goddess who commands thunder and lightning in Chinese mythology, according to the website of the Hong Kong Observatory, which lists names assigned to Pacific cyclones.

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