Share

A Rare Heavy Snowfall Hits Tokyo, Stalls Travel

February 9, 2014

People hold umbrellas as they walk on the street covered with snow in Tokyo on February 8, 2014. Heavy snow struck Tokyo and other areas across Japan, grounding flights and suspending some train services (Toru Yamaka/AFP/Getty Images)

Heavy snow disrupted flights and train services across Japan Saturday, as the weather agency issued a severe storm warning for Tokyo.

NHK reported 27 centimeters (just under 11 inches) of snow blanketed central Tokyo by late Saturday night, local time. The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) issued its first heavy snowfall warning for central Tokyo in 13 years. 

"Tokyo only averages 4.3 inches of snow each year. The last time they picked up an eight-inch-plus snowstorm was Feb. 12, 1994," said weather.com meteorologist Nick Wiltgen.

(MORE: 6 Snowiest Cities in America)

The JMA warned that snow and rain would continue through the night, but that skies would clear gradually Sunday.

Several universities in Tokyo delayed the start of entrance exams because of delays in metropolitan trains and subways, known for almost always being on time.

Major carriers Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways suspended domestic flights from Tokyo's Haneda airport. Some bullet trains were delayed and parts of expressways were closed.

Local media stated that at least five people have been killed and 600 injured in snow-related accidents, according to AFP. Most of the accidents involved cars skidding on icy roads.

Weather.com meteorologist Jonathan Erdman said it takes a true "Goldilocks" scenario for Tokyo snow. "In this case, low pressure skirted close enough to the coast, but wasn't too strong to dislodge cold air near the surface. Hence, the rare heavy blanket of snow in Japan's capital."

MORE: Winter Storm Orion Hitting Coast-to-Coast

A police official looks around during a snowy day in Evanston, Ill., Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)


Featured Blogs

Top 10 Weather Videos of 2014

By Dr. Jeff Masters
December 26, 2014

The year 2014 had many spectacular extreme weather events caught on video; the most remarkable were of flash flooding in Serbia and a tornado in Russia. Two artistic videos that were favorites of mine included beautiful time-lapse pieces set to music taken of monsoon thunderstorms in Arizona and the sunset/aurora on top of Mt. Washington, New Hampshire. Here, then, are my choices for 2014's top 10 weather videos:

November 2014 Global Weather Extremes Summary

By Christopher C. Burt
December 18, 2014

November was globally the 7th warmest such on record according to NOAA and 8th according to NASA (see Jeff Master’s blog for more about this). It was a cold month in the U.S. with some phenomenal lake-effect snowstorms. A powerful storm, dubbed a ‘Medicane’ formed in the Mediterranean Sea. Deadly floods occurred in Morocco, Italy, and Switzerland. It was the warmest November on record for Australia, Italy, Austria and much of Southeast Asia.Below are some of the month’s highlights.

Live Blog: Tracking Hurricane Arthur as it Approaches North Carolina Coast

By Shaun Tanner
July 3, 2014

This is a live blog set up to provide the latest coverage on Hurricane Arthur as it threatens the North Carolina Coast. Check back often to see what the latest is with Arthur. The most recent updates are at the top.

Tropical Terminology

By Stu Ostro
June 30, 2014

Here is some basic, fundamental terminology related to tropical cyclones. Rather than a comprehensive and/or technical glossary, this represents the essence of the meaning & importance of some key, frequently used terms.

2013-14 - An Interesting Winter From A to Z

By Tom Niziol
May 15, 2014

It was a very interesting winter across a good part of the nation from the Rockies through the Plains to the Northeast. Let's break down the most significant winter storms on a month by month basis.

What the 5th IPCC Assessment Doesn't Include

By Angela Fritz
September 27, 2013

Melting permafrost has the potential to release an additional 1.5 trillion tons of carbon into the atmosphere, and could increase our global average temperature by 1.5°F in addition to our day-to-day human emissions. However, this effect is not included in the IPCC report issued Friday morning, which means the estimates of how Earth's climate will change are likely on the conservative side.