A severe snowstorm continued to wreak havoc around Japan over the weekend, with local media reporting that 12 have died while around 1,650 were injured in several incidents due to the record-breaking weather. Around 2,150 were also evacuated from their homes as the snowfall reached as much as 26 centimeters, threatening to collapse houses, just a week after the heaviest snowfall in decades also hit Japan.
The 12 casualties were from seven prefectures that are experiencing the strongest snowstorms in quite some time. According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, the storm is moving northwards and will become even stronger by Monday, with heavy snowfall, blizzards and avalanches. Eastern and northern Japan may also face high waves due to the weather. Transportation in the areas were also severely affected, with more than a hundred flights grounded on Friday and Saturday. Rail services also had to suspend some of their operations as well.
Around 800 cars became stuck on a hillside trunk road during the storm, while the National Route 18, which runs through the Gunma and Nagano Prefectures, was partially closed due to the hundreds of cars stuck on the roads. An official from the nearby ski resort of Karuizawa said they opened up three community halls to accommodate the stranded passengers, offering shelter and hot meals. The transport ministry also said they have been delivering emergency aid for those whose cars have been stuck in the congested traffic on National Route 4 that runs through Fukushima and Miyagi.
[ via ABC ]