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Historic rains kill at least 51 in South Korea

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Rain falling at a rate of two inches an hour in some areas
  • Agency says 51 dead after downpours and landslides
  • Five neighborhoods outside Seoul are under evacuation orders
  • Officials have been able to restore power to thousands

Seoul, South Korea (CNN) -- Massive downpours in South Korea -- the heaviest rains in a century -- are blamed for 51 deaths, the country's Central Disaster Relief Agency reported Friday.

One person is also missing, the agency said.

Conditions improved Friday morning when the Seoul Gimpo International Airport reported light rain and mist with overcast skies, according to the U.S. National Weather Service's international weather conditions website. On Thursday, rain fell in some areas around Seoul at a rate of 50 millimeters an hour (two inches an hour).

The most recent numbers released by the Central Disaster Relief Agency indicated that much of the death toll comes from landslides triggered by the rain. In Chuncheon, 13 people were killed by landslides, while 16 were killed by the same phenomenon in Seoul. Another 18 died in Gyeonggi province.

South Korea's devastating downpour
South Korea's devastating downpour
Heavy rains blamed for S. Korea deaths
  • Seoul
  • South Korea

Five neighborhoods on the outskirts of Seoul had been under evacuation orders Thursday.

But officials were able to restore electricity to many thousands of homes that had lost power. Earlier, there were 116,000 homes without power, said the agency. Thursday, that number stood at 800.

Earlier, the agency warned that hundreds of families had lost their homes.

The weather caused major traffic disruptions across portions of the country as well.

South Korea typically experiences a rainy season during the summer.