(ATTN: UPDATES with expected rainfall in Busan in 6th para)
SEOUL, Sept. 21 (Yonhap) -- The interior and safety ministry on Saturday elevated the weather alert level to "vigilance" from "attention" as Typhoon Tapah tracking northward is expected to affect parts of the country's southern region over the weekend.
Interior Minister Chin Young presided over a meeting of related ministries and provincial governments to make the decision and discuss ways to minimize potential damage from the typhoon, this year's 17th.
The officials decided to check vulnerable areas, such as steep slopes, and ensure that measures are well in place to prevent flooding, power outages and other problems that could occur as the typhoon approaches.
"I ask citizens to refrain from going outside when the country is under the influence of the typhoon and ensure their safety when there are concerns about the possibilities of landslides or flooding," Chin said.
The Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) said that Typhoon Tapah is expected to pass over the waters east of the southern island of Jeju during daytime Sunday and that night move past the southeastern city of Busan and toward the East Sea.
The typhoon may come closest to Busan at around 10 p.m. on Sunday and could dump more than 500 millimeters of rain in some parts of the port city until early Monday.
The weather agency also has not ruled out the possibility that the typhoon could make landfall on the country's southern coast.
At around 9 a.m. on Monday, the typhoon is expected to pass waters 280 kilometers northeast of the country's easternmost islets of Dokdo.
Noting that the typhoon can bring strong winds and heavy rain, a KMA official warned of "serious" damage from the typhoon and called for citizens' "thorough" preparations to prevent or reduce possible damage.