Tokyo and nearby areas on alert for heavy snowfall

Tokyo and nearby areas on alert for heavy snowfall


Tokyo and the surrounding areas remained on alert for heavy snowfall Thursday, as snow and rain fell across wide areas of central and eastern Japan, disrupting air, railway and road traffic.

The Japan Meteorological Agency forecast snow and rain to continue in the Japanese capital and surrounding areas through Friday morning, urging continued caution amid frozen roads and traffic disruptions.

Snow alerts had been issued for parts in Nagano, Shizuoka and Yamanashi prefectures in central Japan, as well as the Tama region of western Tokyo.

The agency said 29 cm of snow had accumulated in Kawaguchiko, Yamanashi Prefecture, and 20 cm in Suwa, Nagano Prefecture, as of Thursday afternoon. Central Tokyo’s 23 wards also saw snow on Thursday.

All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines said they canceled 96 and 73 domestic flights, respectively, to and from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, while East Japan Railway Co. said 67 train services, including limited express trains in Tokyo and the nearby prefectures of Yamanashi and Nagano, have been suspended.

Some highways, including the Chuo-kanjo-sen Belt Line on the Metropolitan Expressway, closed some sections to prepare for possible snow accumulation.

Morning commuters holding umbrellas cross a road in Tokyo's Shinjuku area on Thursday. Heavy snow was forecast for later in the day. | BLOOMBERG
Morning commuters holding umbrellas cross a road in Tokyo’s Shinjuku area on Thursday. Heavy snow was forecast for later in the day. | BLOOMBERG

The traffic disruption came after snow and rain hit Kanto-Koshin, including the Tokyo and Tokai regions, due to a low atmospheric pressure system moving eastward and cold air.

In the 24 hours through 6 p.m. Friday, snowfall could reach 20 cm in the northern part of the Kanto region and 15 cm in various areas, including the Tama area of western Tokyo and Hakone in Kanagawa Prefecture near the capital.

The agency said the 23 wards comprising the central districts of Tokyo — which do not experience snowfall regularly — are expected to see 5 cm of snow in the 24 hours through 6 p.m. Friday.

A cold front at an altitude of around 1,500 meters will be 3 C colder than in usual years, the agency said.

A sign on a Tokyo expressway urges drivers to exercise caution due to snow on Thursday. | KYODO
A sign on a Tokyo expressway urges drivers to exercise caution due to snow on Thursday. | KYODO

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Author: Shirley