Transport halted across Japan by heavy snow, deep cold
As a result of the heavy snowfall that blanketed much of Japan on Wednesday, traffic was snarled, hundreds of flights were cancelled, and train travel was disrupted. A person has been confirmed dead as a result of the heavy snowfall. According to Reuters, an unusually cold front and the presence of extreme low pressure systems have caused snow to fall and strong winds to blow across Japan since Tuesday.
There was particularly heavy snowfall on the western side of the nation facing the Sea of Japan, with the city of Maniwa in western Japan receiving a record 93 cm (36 inches) in 24 hours to 8:00 a.m. Wednesday (23:00 GMT). As of Wednesday morning, one person had died as a result of the storm. Two other deaths were being investigated as related to the storm, said Hirokazu Matsuno, chief cabinet secretary.
More than 300 flights were canceled by domestic airlines, including ANA and Japan Airlines, while bullet train services were suspended or delayed in northern Japan, according to media reports. According to public broadcaster NHK, cars and trucks were unable to move over a distance of approximately 10 kilometers (6 miles) on a highway in central Japan.
Snow and high winds in Kyoto forced the suspension of train service on Tuesday. This stranded some 3,000 people at two train stations, with some passengers having to sleep on the floor at Kyoto’s main station. At least 15 trains were stuck between stations, some of them from late Tuesday to early Wednesday. Some had to hike through snow to reach shelter, according to NHK.
On Wednesday morning, winds connected to the storm may have caused a Hong Kong-registered cargo ship to sink between western Japan and South Korea’s Jeju island. Thirteen of the 22 crew members had been rescued by noon on Wednesday, and the search continues. Continuing bitter weather is forecast through Thursday.