News / Asia

S. Korea’s Weather Forecasters to Issue Common Cold Predictions

South Korea’s official weather forecasters are branching out. Meteorologists will inform the public of the likelihood of catching a cold, rather than just feeling cold.

The Korea Meteorological Administration says it will add a new feature to its daily forecasts, beginning in late November.

Forecasters will begin predicting the likeliness of people in South Korea catching colds.

The officer at the KMA supervising the new index, Heo Hye-sook, explains how it will be devised.

Heo says there are two weather-related components affecting vulnerability to people coming down with a cold. They are the extremes between high and low temperatures during a given day and the humidity. She explains that scores are calculated for the sets of components to devise the overall index for a particular day.

Doctors say viruses tend to linger in cold and dry air, increasing the chances of infection.

Three-day cold index forecasts will be available for Seoul, Busan and seven other South Korean cities.

The KMA says it will issue the forecasts from late November through February, every year. They will alert people to four levels for the potential of becoming ill from common cold bugs (rhinoviruses and coronaviruses), from very low to very high.

The cold index will be the latest in a series of unconventional forecasts issued by the KMA. It also compiles rainfall, wind, sleet and other factors to issue driving hazard reports. Other forecasts it issues include a food poisoning index, asthma alerts and the level of ultraviolet rays, based on weather data.

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