Tokyo, Japan was recently hit with a mega snowstorm which has already left twelve people dead. 1,650 people were left injured, one of whom still remains in a coma, a public broadcaster from NHK has said. The severe weather has also caused a widespread mess within the city’s transportation system. According to Kyodo news, Tokyo was covered in ten centimeters of snow, which began falling last Friday. In Yamanashi, which is located in central Japan, a record-breaking 45 inches of snow fell.
Nearly 20,000 homes lost electricity after two trains collided on slippery tracks in Kawasaki, leaving 19 injured. Transport authorities will be investigating the incident to be sure no other factors came into play. In a Tokyo suburb, the roof of a shopping arcade suddenly collapsed. It was reported that 628 flights had been cancelled and thousands of travelers were forced to spend the night at Tokyo’s Haneda airport. Hundreds of passengers had been seen on television lying on benches and floors covered up in blankets. Many trains were also stalled.
Once the snowstorm had hit, thousands of people became trapped in their cars, sometimes for as long as a day. Japan’s transportation officials were desperately trying to deliver food and set up portable toilets on the site. Emergency aid came rushing in for those in need and hot meals were being offered from community centers with locations that happened to be near those stuck in their vehicles. Shelter had been offered up temporarily for those whose cars had run out of gasoline. In some places, the mega storm had left cars completely buried, leaving them with dead engines.
Officials reported today that in one area, 250 cars became stuck on the road, while another 800 cars were stuck on a hillside road. Apparently, the extent of congestion went on for several miles. National Route 4 which passes through the northern parts of Fukushima and Miyagi, was blocked for 90 miles. This is all thanks to a low pressure system travelling north over Tokyo, meteorologists say. Furthermore, as soon as the snow had started melting, some roads became flooded in downtown Tokyo.
A public broadcaster at NHK reported that about 2,150 people were forced to be evacuated from their homes for the fear that their roofs might cave in on them. Around 246,000 homes have lost electricity at one point Saturday, reports Tokyo Electric Power Co Inc., and it is estimated that 18,000 people are still waiting to have their power back this weekend.
Besides the blizzards and heavy snow that have wreaked havoc, Japan’s meteorological agency had warned the public of possible avalanches and high waves that may hit the eastern and northern parts of Japan. Apparently, avalanches have already began to fall in a few spots located within Miyagi and Yamagata. Sunday morning, the temperature had fallen as low as 26 degrees Fahrenheit. Tokyo does not normally receive this type of mega snowstorm. With only a light dusting of snow being reported each year, the capital’s population was indeed suffering in chaos. It is now being recorded as the heaviest snowfall in decades. Forecasters are predicting more snow to fall down through the region later in the week. The official number of those found dead has not yet been reported.
By Katie Sevigny