False Blizzard Warning Wastes Billions

  • By Sun Jung-min

    January 22, 2021 10:05

    Warnings of a snowstorm that never materialized cost the Seoul Metropolitan Government a massive amount of money.

    Data show that the city spent W4.38 billion on gritting to clear the roads of snow and ice this month alone but wasted the money due to inaccurate weather forecasts (US$1=W1,098).

    The capital spread W2.79 billion on 13,590 tons of calcium chloride, salt and eco-friendly ice melt between Jan. 6-10 and another 6,211 tons worth W1.21 billion between Jan. 12-13, and 2,000 tons worth W367.2 million on Jan. 17 and 18.

    That totals W4.38 billion or half the city's stockpiles.

    Workers shovel snow in a street in Seoul on Monday. /Newsis

    On Jan. 6, Seoul saw only 3.8 cm of snow, on Jan. 12 it saw 5 cm, but between Jan. 17 and 18 it saw just 1 cm despite forecasts of a blizzard by the Korea Meteorological Administration.

    People Power Party lawmaker Heo Eun-ah said inaccurate weather forecasts "contributed to the waste of the city's budget."

    But city officials explained the subzero temperatures made snow and ice difficult to shovel or plow, so they had to use more chemicals in vulnerable areas.

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