Scores injured in Japan’s snowstorm

Japan snowstormTOKYO, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) — Five people died and scores have been injured, as swathes of western and central Japan on Sunday saw record amounts of heavy snowfall blanket town and cities.

The snow caused major disruption to transportation networks, with hundreds of flights canceled and bullet trains services suspended. Conditions are likely to worsen through Monday.

Local authorities said a women was killed after she slipped from her roof while trying to clear snow. In Tochigi Prefecture, a man was killed in a weather-related traffic accident. In Niigata Prefecture, two people were killed after falling into an irrigation channel after a snow removal operation and a man was found dead underneath a snow plough.

Local media reported that across the nation, more than 100 people have been injured as a result of the severe weather conditions, some following a multiple car pileup on a road in Fukuoka Prefecture.

Six teenagers were rescued from Mt. Kusembu, with its peak at 850 meters and straddling Fukuoka and Saga prefectures, as they became stranded due to the severe weather and had to be rescued by firefighters from near the peak.

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said snow fell as far southwest as Nagasaki and Kagoshima Prefectures, and the mercury in Okinawa’s capital of Naha plunged below 9 degrees Celsius compared to an average for the month of 16 degrees Celsius, while in Kunigami also in Japan’s southernmost prefecture, temperatures in the subtropical region dropped to a record-low of 3.9 degrees Celsius, as of 8 p.m Sunday, Japan Meteorological Agency said.

Nagasaki, according to the agency, received a record 17 centimeters of snow, while Kagoshima saw 10 cm and Saga Prefecture 7 cm, the weather agency said.

The snow was the heaviest in western Japan, however, with local media reporting earlier that the town of Kitahiroshima in Hiroshima saw 74 cm of snow dumped in just 24 hours through this morning.

The coastal town of Suzu, in Ishikawa Prefecture, meanwhile, saw 35 cm of snow within the same timeframe.

The JMA said the severe cold snap is likely to continue with more inclement weather in western and central areas through Monday, with as much as 70 cm of snow expected in Hokuriku, northwestern Honshu, and 60 cm in Tohoku, and 50 cm in Kanto-Koshin, including Tokyo, Yamanashi and Nagano prefectures.

The agency warned of further disruption to transportation networks following regional airports canceling hundreds of flights and trains services being severely disrupted.

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