Heavy snowfall blankets Japan, Tokyo marks most in 45 years

February 09, 2014

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

Tokyo was blanketed in snowfall not seen in close to half a century as large parts of eastern Japan felt the fury of a low-pressure front that swept northward through the main Honshu island from Feb. 8 through the following day.

The accumulated snowfall in central Tokyo reached 27 centimeters by late on Feb. 8, marking the first time in 20 years that more than 20 centimeters of snow fell on the capital.

The snowfall was the heaviest since the 30 centimeters that accumulated in March 1969.

The one-day snowfall was enough to tie for the eighth largest recorded monthly accumulated snowfall ever, as well as being the fourth largest accumulated monthly total after World War II.

Chiba received 33 centimeters of snow by early on Feb. 9, breaking the record since measurements were started in 1966.

The heavy snowfall and strong winds caused train and airline delays and cancellations, hazardous driving conditions and blackouts in the Kanto region. Tokyo Electric Power Co. said that power was still cut off for 60,800 households in Tokyo, Ibaraki and Chiba prefectures on the morning of Feb. 9.

While snow had let up by the morning of Feb. 9 in the Kanto and Koshin regions, forecasts called for snow and strong winds to continue on the Pacific side of the Tohoku region through the day. The Japan Meteorological Agency urged caution in regards to strong winds and snow, high waves and the freezing of roads.

By the morning of Feb. 8, accumulated snowfall in Sendai, the capital of Miyagi Prefecture in northern Japan, had reached 35 centimeters, exceeding the 34 centimeters of 1976. The amount was the third highest ever recorded since measurements were begun in 1926.

The Pacific side of the Tohoku region was forecast to be blanketed by up to 40 centimeters of snow in the 24-hour period until 6 a.m. on Feb. 10.

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
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Workers clear snow from the sidewalk in the Uchisaiwaicho business district in central Tokyo on the afternoon of Feb. 8. (Minako Yoshimoto)

Workers clear snow from the sidewalk in the Uchisaiwaicho business district in central Tokyo on the afternoon of Feb. 8. (Minako Yoshimoto)

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  • Workers clear snow from the sidewalk in the Uchisaiwaicho business district in central Tokyo on the afternoon of Feb. 8. (Minako Yoshimoto)
  • Voters listen to a candidate in the Tokyo gubernatorial election in front of the Kaminarimon gate in the Asakusa district on Feb. 8, the final day of campaigning before voters go to the polls on Feb. 9. (Ryo Yamagishi)
  • Snow falls on tourists strolling through the front approach to Sensoji temple in Tokyo's Asakusa sightseeing district on Feb. 8. (Yasuhiro Sugimoto)
  • Snow blankets the ground around the A-Bomb Dome in the western city of Hiroshima on the morning of Feb. 8. (Kenta Sujino)

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