A snowstorm on the eastern coastline of Japan turned deadly over the weekend as heavy snowfall killed 11 and injured more than a thousand. Areas that don’t usually see this kind of weather received the heaviest snowfall recorded from a storm since January 1994, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.
Tokyo received as much as 10.6 inches of snowfall, something that is rare due to the looming peak of Mount Fuji west of the city which blocks incoming snow and the heaviest to hit the city in 45 years. The city of Matsumoto in Honshu received the heaviest snowfall at 19.2 inches. Local media reports that at least 11 people have been killed due to several snow-related accidents, mostly those involving cars driving through icy roads. Various reports have also said around 1,250 have been injured due to snow-related incidents, many due to slipping on the ground or falling after attempting to shovel snow from their roofs.
More than 20,000 households also found themselves without electricity early Sunday morning. More than 400 flights were cancelled and over 740 flights were grounded as the snowstorm continued to affect visibility in the skies. More than 5,000 people were stranded at the airport due to these cancelled flights. Observers also said that the heavy snow affected the voter turnout at the precincts for the Tokyo gubernatorial election. As of 6:00 PM on Saturday, it was down 10% compared to the poll conducted in the previous mayoral election.
Light snow will be expected in the next few days over Honshu while Tokyo may see several snow showers in the next two days, but the JMA said it should only be a few centimeters of snow. There seems to be an approaching strong storm that might hit again by next weekend, but it remains to be seen whether it will be snow or rain.
[ via Yahoo News ]