(ATTN: UPDATES with more info in paras 5-6; ADDS photos)
SEOUL, Jan. 24 (Yonhap) -- The coldest day of the season gripped South Korea on Tuesday, with morning lows dropping to minus 16.4 degrees C in Seoul and to minus 25.5 C in the northern county of Cheorwon, the state weather agency said.
The lowest apparent temperature for Seoul was minus 25.5 C, while that of Cheorwon was minus 39.3 C, the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) said.
A 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. Cold wave alerts took effect for most of the country, including Seoul, starting at 9 p.m. the previous day.
The mercury dropped to minus 1.9 C in Jeju Island as heavy snowfall, of up to 30-50 centimeters, is expected to hit the island.
Heavy snowfall and strong winds prompted air carriers to suspend all 466 domestic flights and 10 international flights scheduled to fly to and from Jeju International Airport, according to aviation authorities. The operation of hundreds of passenger ships across the country was also cancelled.
Jeju airport was crowded with travelers waiting to book new plane tickets to return home on the last day of the Lunar New Year holiday.
Temperatures in the western port city of Incheon, the central city of Daejeon, the southwestern city of Gwangju and the southeastern port city of Busan were minus 16.2 C, minus 11.7 C, minus 8 C and minus 4.4 C, respectively, in the morning.
Morning lows are expected to dip further to between minus 9 to minus 23 C on Wednesday, when people start returning to work after their extended Lunar New Year holiday, according to the KMA.