(ATTN: CHANGES dateline; ADDS more info on flight delays in para 7-10)
SEOUL/JEJU, Jan. 23 (Yonhap) -- Cold wave alerts will be issued for most parts of the country Monday as the capital and central parts of the nation came under the grip of the season's coldest weather.
The Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) said the cold wave warning will take effect for all of Seoul at 9 p.m.
The cold wave warning is issued when the morning low is below minus 15 C for more than two consecutive days, or when the temperature drops sharply and major damage is expected.
The warning will be also issued for many areas in Incheon, 27 kilometers west of Seoul, and the provinces of Gyeonggi, Gangwon, Chungcheong and North Jeolla at the same time.
Many southern cities, including Ulsan, Daegu, Busan and Gwangju, and the southwestern provinces of Jeolla are to come under a cold wave advisory, which is issued when the morning low is below minus 12 C for more than two days in a row, the KMA said.
Morning lows in central regions are expected to fall below minus 15 C on Tuesday, while the low for Seoul is predicted to hit minus 17 C, according to the weather agency.
The expected cold wave prompted air carriers to suspend domestic flight operations. Korean Air Co. said it was canceling all 44 flights scheduled to fly from the southernmost island of Jeju on Monday.
The air carrier said it is considering arranging special flights depending on weather conditions.
Jeju Air Co., a budget carrier, said it will suspend 40 flights flying out of Jeju, with the decision subject to change depending on the weather.
Heavy snowfall, of up to 30-50 centimeters, was expected to hit Jeju over the next few days, as the country was forecast to experience the cold wave.