The Korea Meteorological Administration said that the afternoon high in Hongcheon in the central part of the peninsula soared to a record 41-point-zero degrees Celsius on Wednesday afternoon.
The temperature is the highest ever to be recorded in the country since the introduction of a modern weather observation system in 1907. It marks the first time the mercury topped 40 degrees in the country since August first in 1942, when afternoon highs reached 40 degrees in Daegu, Gyeongsang Province.
An unofficial temperature recorded by an Automatic Weather Station in the nearby Hoengseong County reached 41-point-three degrees.
Afternoon highs in Seoul also surged to 39-point-six degrees Celsius on Wednesday, the highest ever to be recorded for the city since weather observation first began in 1907.
As the entire nation suffers from the scorching heat, the prime minster instructed related agencies to stop construction works for government projects during day time to prevent heat-related illnesses.
As the heat wave continues, the government announced that it is reviewing the current household electricity pricing system for possible revisions to help alleviate the public’s financial burden.
Park Sung-taek, Director General for Energy Industry Policy at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, told a press conference on Monday that the government is looking into the current cumulative electricity billing system from various points of view.
Park said the ministry will also see whether it is worth responding to request to offer a one-time discount in electricity fees due to the prolonged high temperatures.
He indicated that a significant change in the current system is unlikely at least in the near future, saying it is too early to assess its impact on the public's use of electricity or their financial burden since the system’s last revision in 2016.
The heat wave has had a human cost as well.
According to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 35 people have died so far while nearly 28-hundred have reported illnesses related to the heat.
Animals are also suffering. As of Thursday, over three million animals, including 16,000 pigs and 3.2 million chickens, have died due to the drastic spike in temperatures. More than one million of those deaths came within the last week.