Freezing temperatures will greet the New Year in Korea, with temperatures in some central parts of the country plunging to about -20 degrees Celsius, the Korea Meteorological Administration forecast.
A cold weather alert was issued for about 50 regions including Gyeonggi, Gangwon, North Chungcheong, and North Gyeongsang provinces on Sunday afternoon. Alerts are issued when temperatures are expected to drop more than 10 degrees Celsius from the previous day.
The cold spell will ease early on New Year's Day but return the same evening, culminating on Thursday and Friday.
The KMA blamed a cold continental anticyclone spreading to the country. Snow is expected in central parts except eastern Gangwon Province and in North Jeolla Province and the west coast of South Jeolla Province on Tuesday, and on Wednesday and Thursday in the Jeolla provinces, South Chungcheong Province and Jeju.
The morning low in Seoul was -14 degrees Celsius on Monday, down four degrees from Sunday.
"The freezing cold spell will persist in most regions across the country for the time being, with both morning lows and day temperatures hovering below zero," a weatherman said. "Strong winds will also bring down the windchill effect further."