SEOUL: Hundreds of flights were grounded and more than 200 people evacuated in South Korea on Monday as Typhoon "Hinnamnor" approached its southern region with heavy rains and winds of up to 290 kilometers (180 miles) an hour, putting the East Asian nation on alert for its worst storm in decades.

South Korea's weather agency said the country would start to feel the full force of Hinnamnor, the strongest global storm this year, by Tuesday morning when it is forecast to graze the southern resort island of Jeju before making landfall near the mainland city of Busan.

Government officials raised concern about potentially huge damage from flooding, landslides and tidal waves triggered by the typhoon, which comes just weeks after the capital Seoul and nearby regions were hit with heavy rainfall that unleashed flash floods and killed at least 14 people.

President Yoon Suk Yeol, who said he would stay at his office overnight to monitor the typhoon, urged maximum effort to prevent casualties during an emergency response meeting on Monday. Prime Minister Han Duk-soo called for proactive efforts to evacuate residents in areas vulnerable to flooding.

Officials say Hinnamnor could bring more powerful winds than 2003's Typhoon "Maemi," which left 117 people dead and was the strongest storm to make landfall in the country since the start of record keeping in 1904.

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As of Monday night, Hinnamnor was over the open sea 240 km (149 mi) southwest of Jeju. It has dumped more than 50 centimeters (20 inches) of rain on the island's central part since Sunday and winds were blowing at a maximum speed of 124 km per hour (77 mph) and were picking up.

South Korea's Ministry of the Interior and Safety said there were no immediate reports of casualties. At least 11 homes and buildings were flooded in Jeju while more than 200 people were forced to evacuate in Busan and nearby cities because of safety concerns.

More than 360 domestic flights and 66 ferry services were grounded nationwide as of Monday afternoon while thousands of fishing boats returned to port.

Kindergarten and elementary schools in Seoul and all schools in Busan and nearby southern regions are scheduled to be closed or shift to online classes Tuesday.