Typhoon winds toppled trees, grounded planes and left thousands of South Korean homes without electricity as a powerful storm system brushed up against the Korean Peninsula.

Strong winds and rain from Typhoon Lingling caused power outages in more than 31,000 homes on the southern resort island of Jeju and in southern mainland regions, South Korea's Ministry of the Interior and Safety said. The Ministry of the Interior and Safety said there were no immediate reports of typhoon-related injuries.

The typhoon was passing seas 110 kms west of the central mainland city of Seosan, moving north at 42 kmph with winds of up to 133 kmph, the Korea Meteorological Association said.

It is expected to affect a broader part of the country as it passes off South Korea's west coast before making landfall in North Korea. The storm was earlier expected to make landfall Saturday evening.

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Fishing boats are anchored in port as Typhoon Lingling approaches to Korean peninsular on Jeju Island, South Korea. Photo / AP
Fishing boats are anchored in port as Typhoon Lingling approaches to Korean peninsular on Jeju Island, South Korea. Photo / AP

The storm toppled trees and streetlamps, blew signboards off buildings and damaged traffic signs across the mainland and Jeju. Dozens of flights were grounded at airports nationwide, while 38 people were forced to evacuate from their flooded homes in Gwangju, a city near Seoul.

Five cars were destroyed in the eastern city of Wonju after a tin panel blew off the roof of an apartment building and crashed into a parking lot. Fire crews in the western port city of Incheon responded to some 100 calls reporting typhoon-related damage, including destroyed walls, knocked off signboards and fallen trees.

National parks were closed as were southern ports on the mainland and major cross-sea bridges.

South Korea's weather agency has warned of flooding, landslides and structure damaged caused by strong rain and winds expected nationwide through early Sunday.

The storm could inflict more serious damage as it passes through land in North Korea, an impoverished nation that for decades has struggled to deal with natural disasters.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends an emergency meeting to discuss disaster prevention efforts against Typhoon Lingling. Photo / AP
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends an emergency meeting to discuss disaster prevention efforts against Typhoon Lingling. Photo / AP

North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency said leader Kim Jong Un "urgently convened" an emergency meeting to discuss disaster prevention efforts and scolded government officials who he described as "helpless against the typhoon, unaware of its seriousness and seized with easygoing sentiment.

"Kim called for his military to drive national efforts to minimise damage from the typhoon, which he said would be an "enormous struggle" that would require the entire country to step up, KCNA said.

- AP

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