Heavy snowfall hits Tokyo area, traffic disrupted

Japan
Photo: Kyodo

Tokyo and neighboring areas were hit by snowfall on Monday, disrupting public transportation and prompting Japan's weather agency to issue a heavy snow warning across the capital, Kyodo reports. 

For the first time since February 2022, snow accumulation of at least 1 centimeter was measured in Tokyo's central area. It was also the first time in about a year that a heavy snow warning was issued for Tokyo's 23 wards.

Snowfall is expected to peak late Monday night, but commuters may still encounter snowy and icy roads the following day as a temperature drop is expected in the morning, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

Mountainous areas in the Kanto-Koshin region will likely continue to see heavy snow through Tuesday morning, as a low-pressure system advances along the southern coast of the main island of Honshu toward the east, it said.

All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines canceled at least 100 flights in total, mostly leaving or arriving at Tokyo's Haneda airport Monday afternoon, with over 11,000 people being affected.

East Japan Railway Co. decided to suspend some limited express train services on the Chuo Line starting Monday evening.

Major expressways running through Tokyo and its vicinity, including Tomei Expressway and Metropolitan Expressway, have been partially shut down, according to operators.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism requested drivers to put on winter tires on their vehicles or carry snow chains as well as to refrain from going out unless absolutely necessary.

During a 24-hour period through 6 p.m. Tuesday, 40 cm of snow is forecast in mountainous areas of the northern Kanto region, 30 cm in areas such as Hakone in Kanagawa Prefecture and Tama in western Tokyo, and 8 cm in Tokyo's 23 wards, according to the weather agency.

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