Heavy snow warning issued for Tokyo wards as peak nears

Heavy snow warning issued for Tokyo wards as peak nears”

A rare snowstorm hit Tokyo on Monday, snarling train services, forcing the cancellation of scores of flights and prompting hordes of workaholic Japanese to heed official advice to head home early.

As of Tuesday afternoon, most commuter lines were operating normally but a number of trains were canceled and highways remained closed.

22 issued a heavy snow warning for Tokyo's 23 wards and Tama region, saying up to 10 centimeters of snow are expected in the wards by 6 a.m. on January 23.

Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airways and other carriers said they had cancelled more than 100 domestic and global flights Tuesday, mainly those departing from and arriving at Tokyo's Haneda airport and Narita airport, east of the capital.

Yukiko Utsui, 37, who was scheduled to fly to Seattle on business, said, "I couldn't sleep last night and have not secured an alternative flight". "I never thought I'd see snow in Tokyo", said another woman.

The government issued heavy snow warnings for the area around the capital, just two weeks after hundreds of people were trapped overnight in a train in northern Japan due to heavy snow.

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said a low pressure system and a rain front moving over waters south of Japan's main island from east to west has left heavy snowfall on mountainous regions in the west, before moving on to the Kanto-Koshin region, including central Tokyo.

Snow is likely to accumulate even in the 23 wards. "But we can not be too happy given how it affects people's lives", he said, adding that momentum showed no signs of waning.

NHK offered detailed recommendations for coping with the weather, including wearing boots with heavy treads, heading home early and not walking with hands in coat pockets in case of slips and falls.

More than 740 traffic accidents due to the snow were reported, and 67 people were injured from falls as of last night, NHK added.

A disaster management centre in the prime minister's office was collating information on the situation.

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