Trains delayed, traffic disrupted, residents put on heavy coats and boots after surprised November snowfall
TOKYO (Japan) – Tokyo, the capital of Japan, was smashed by first November snowfall in 54 years. The last time snow fell in November in Tokyo was in 1962. Cold air mass passing over the city pushed temperature down 10 degrees Celsius overnight — from an average of 11°C (50°F) to 1°C (34 °F).
Experts said the low temperatures and snowfall was due to Arctic air penetrating middle latitudes and being exposed to an atmospheric low with a front moving eastward off Japan’s Pacific coasts.
As much as 2cm of snow was predicted for central Tokyo by the time the snow stops, likely by early afternoon, Japanese Meteorological Agency informed.
Snow also fell in Hokkaido and other regions that are more accustomed to snow. By 9 a.m., snow had accumulated to a height of 82 cm in Horokanai in northern Hokkaido and 14 cm in Iida, Nagano Prefecture.
The snowfall, while only listed in Tokyo as a “small accumulation” disrupted traffic and electricity consumption in the capital was more than 95 percent of its supply capacity given the high demand for heating.
Injuries were also reported in Tokyo and surrounding prefectures, including people who slipped on snowy roads and suffered fractured bones, according to firefighters and other authorities.
East Japan Railway said services on the Ome and Chuo lines were suspended due to snow-laden tree branches that had sagged over the tracks.
The year’s first snowfall came 49 days earlier than it had last year – and also 40 days earlier than in any typical year. Other cities in eastern Japan, like Yokohama, also experienced snow. Just four days ago, Tokyo had basked in the weekend sunshine with temperatures hovering around 15 to 20 deg C.
A 1-year-old girl fell into a drainage ditch while family members were removing snow outside their house, according to police. She was listed in critical condition, in Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, west of Tokyo.
Weather forecasts indicate that temperatures are set to stay under 12 deg C for the next week, though snow is not expected.