Japan hit by heavy snow flurries

Winter storm brings major disruptions to the north of the country with as much as 83cm of snowfall.

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    About 250 people were injured because of the major snowfall with many slipping and falling [Toru Hanai/Reuters]
    About 250 people were injured because of the major snowfall with many slipping and falling [Toru Hanai/Reuters]

    Heavy snow and strong winds brought serious disruption to northern Japan on Tuesday.

    The heaviest snowfall was across Hokkaido and northern Honshu, with the northern coastal city of Aomori reporting a level 83cm of snow at 06:00GMT.

    The snow extended southwards across much of western Honshu and Kyushu. Even the capital, Tokyo, saw a blanket of 6cm.

    Across the country 250 injuries were reported - many as a result of people slipping over - despite warnings from the authorities to venture outside only if absolutely necessary.

    The country's highly organised and efficient transport network was affected by the snowfall. Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways cancelled almost 200 flights, affecting 16,000 passengers.

    Bullet trains on the JR Yamagata, Akita, Hokuriku Joetsu and Tokaido lines were delayed.

    Many roads were closed, including sections of the Chuo Expressway in the Yamanashi and Nagano prefectures.

    Winds of 140km an hour caused large snowdrifts and  brought waves of up to eight metres high crashing on to the west coast.

    The area of low pressure that brought the severe weather was moving eastward on Tuesday into the Pacific Ocean.

    Honshu and the southern islands will see a return to drier, brighter weather from Wednesday. But Hokkaido is expected to experience further snow flurries in the coming days with an accumulation of 20cm in Sapporo by Friday.

    At higher elevations, there could be another metre of snow.

    Across the country 250 injuries were reported - many as a result of people slipping over [Toru Hanai/Reuters]

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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