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SEOUL — Despite waking up to a blanket of snow Monday morning, soldiers and civilians in South Korea could be in for a milder winter.

The first snow of the winter started at 12:40 a.m. Monday; about an inch accumulated overnight here, South Korean weather forecasters said.

Farther north in 2nd Infantry Division country, areas of Tongduchon and Uijongbu got almost 2 inches.

On the west coast, Incheon — near Camp Market — got almost 3 inches and Suwon — near Osan Air Base and Camp Humphreys — got up to 4 inches, said Park Jung-hwan of the Korea Meteorological Association.

Some areas in Kyonggi Province and other locales were slated to get up to 6 inches, he said.

But many soldiers said they didn’t mind the year’s first significant snowfall.

Spc. Joe Ahlemeyer of the 122nd Signal Battalion, whose unit was involved in area assembly operations Monday, said the winter weather hadn’t sidelined Camp Red Cloud motorpool vehicles.

“We practice cold-weather starting maintenance procedures so it’s not a problem,” he said.

Pfc. Joshua Jenner, also of the 122nd Signal, said he hopes it snows more.

“I think it is going to be a white Christmas,” Jenner said

He may be right.

The long-range forecast for South Korea shows a winter of relatively mild temperatures with possibly heavy snowfalls, according to the Korea Meteorological Agency. Monday’s first snow was later than normal.

Winter temperatures this month are expected to be higher than the normal average range between 18 degrees to 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

January will be slightly warmer as well, forecasters predict.

But snow is predicted to exceed annual averages, especially in Kangwon Province and the inland mountainous area, according to Korea Meteorological Agency’s Web site.

That’s good news for skiers, who flocked to area resorts this weekend, officials say.

The rest of this week should be warmer, with high temperatures rising well above freezing, forecasters say.

— Seth Robson contributed to this report.

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