Heavy snow covered large parts of Japan on Wednesday, clogging traffic, forcing hundreds of flight cancellations, disrupting train travel and killing at least one person.
An unusually cold weather front and extreme low pressure systems have brought snowfall and strong winds to Japan since Tuesday after wreaking havoc in other Asian countries earlier this week. At least 124 people died from freezing temperatures in Afghanistan earlier this week, according to media reports, while temperatures in Mohe, China’s northernmost city, fell to a record minus 53 degrees Celsius on Sunday. .
In South Korea, the resort island of Jeju canceled nearly 500 flights in and out of its airport on Tuesday amid harsh winter weather.
Japanese meteorological authorities reported that the snow was particularly heavy on the side of the country facing South Korea, with the city of Maniwa hit a record 93 centimeters thick in just 24 hours. Vehicles are stuck due to heavy snowfall and snowplow cars are seen on a road in Yokkaichi.
One person died as a result of the storm and two other deaths were under investigation in connection with the storm as of Wednesday morning, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said at a news conference. No further details were immediately available.
The authorities estimate that the icy wave will continue over Korea and Japan.
Domestic airlines including ANA and Japan Airlines have canceled 450 flights, while 490 highway areas have been blocked and 57 rail services, including a high-speed rail service, have been suspended across the country, the Ministry of Transport said. Automaker Toyota said it would suspend second shift at all 14 factories in Japan on Wednesday due to the disruption of heavy snowfall across the country.
Some 3,000 people were stranded at two train stations in the western city of Kyoto after snow and strong winds forced a suspension of service on Tuesday.
Some passengers were forced to sleep on the floor of the Kyoto main station. Others were stuck on at least 15 trains between stations, in some cases from Tuesday afternoon until early Wednesday morning. Strong winds related to the storm may have caused a Hong Kong-registered freighter to sink between western Japan and South Korea’s Jeju Island on Wednesday morning.
Thirteen of the 22 crew members had been rescued by noon Wednesday and the search was continuing. The challenging weather is expected to continue through Thursday.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.