Sat, Dec 24, 2005 - Page 5 News List

Heavy snowfalls continue to disrupt Japanese transport

WHITE CHRISTMAS The heaviest snow for years has blanketed northern Japan and caused chaos for transport networks


Heavy snow continued to fall on northern and central Japan yesterday, disrupting plane and train operations in a second day of foul weather that has left at least one person dead.

Japan's Meteorological Agency issued heavy snow and avalanche warnings for several areas of northern Japan, predicting up to 60cm of fresh snow there by this morning.

Parts of central Japan can expect up to 40cm, it said.

As much as 2m of snow are already on the ground in some areas after a blizzard swept the country on Thursday, triggering blackouts and injuring hundreds of people in snow-related accidents.

One man died when his car crashed on a snow-covered road.

The city of Akita, 450km north of Tokyo, received 56cm of snow by midnight on Thursday, breaking an 88-year-old record for total snowfall in December, national broadcaster NHK said.

Electricity has been restored to nearly all of some 650,000 households that lost power in the central prefecture of Niigata due to the snow storm, said Satoru Ishii, a spokesman for Tohoku Electric Power Co.

The heavy snow and blackouts contributed to train delays and traffic snarls throughout the region.

Some 24 flights, mostly out of Central Japan International Airport in Aichi prefecture, were canceled yesterday because of snow storms, NHK reported. On Thursday, 14 international and 104 domestic flights were grounded.

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