The heaviest snowfall in decades has left 3 dead and more than 800 injured across Japan, local media reports. The snow has paralyzed the public transport system causing numerous traffic accidents.
One person died in a snow-related traffic accident in the city of Shizuoka located south of the capital Tokyo early on Saturday, police said. Another two people died in car crashes caused by snow in Shiga central Japan and Oita in the south western part of the archipelago on Friday, according to Kyodo news agency.
At least 850 people, including one in a coma, have been injured on the snow-covered roads since the storm hit the country on Thursday, local broadcaster NHK reported.
The snow blanketed Tokyo with 27 centimeters of snow on Saturday morning, local media said, adding that it the heaviest snowfall the capital has seen in 45 years. While Kofu in the Yamanashi Prefecture, west of Tokyo, saw a record snowfall of 91 centimeters since observations began 120 years ago.
In addition to the roads, the local expressways experienced delays or were closed due to enormous amounts of snow. The Tomei and other expressways in the Tokyo area were closed on Saturday, local media reported.
19 people were injured when two commuter trains collided at Motosumiyoshi station in Tokyo on Saturday morning, officials said however adding that it is not yet clear whether the accident was caused by bad weather.
On Friday about 160,000 passengers on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line experienced delays of up to an hour, Japan Railway officials said as cited by AFP.
Air transport also took a hit as at least 628 flights were cancelled on Saturday at Haneda and other airports in eastern Japan, NHK reported. About 4,500 people were forced to spend the Friday night at Tokyo’s Haneda airport after their flights were cancelled. This comes after more than 260 flights were grounded due to heavy snowfall.
About 187,000 houses lost power Friday night in Eastern Japan due to snow and strong winds. Tokyo Electrical Power Company (TEPCO) has issued an apology for the inconveniences on its website, adding that the operator is working to restore the power.
Japan’s Meteorological Agency has issued heavy snow warnings in many areas in the Kanto eastern region in and around Tokyo and the central Koshin region, according to Jiji news agency.
This comes a week after another record snowfall resulted in the deaths of at least 11 people and left more than 1,200 injured across the nation.