Cold and Snow Hampering Earthquake Relief and Travel in Japan


Image: Screen capture from News18 video.

NHK-World News in Japan is reporting that extreme cold and heavy snow is hampering earthquake relief efforts in Japan. The winter storm is also complicating air travel, resulting in cancelled flights and possibly contributing to a recent runway accident. NHK reports:

Snow and rain continue to fall in parts of Japan that were struck by the devastating earthquake on New Year’s Day.

A winter pressure pattern has brought 10 centimeters of snow to hard-hit Suzu City, Ishikawa Prefecture.

In neighboring Wajima City, the mercury is expected to drop to minus three degrees Celsius, and minus one degree in the prefectural capital Kanazawa City on Sunday morning.

The winter pressure pattern will strengthen with the passing of a low-pressure system accompanied by a front. It is expected to bring strong winds, snow and high waves in northern and eastern Japan from Sunday evening through Tuesday.

Winds of up to 72 kilometers per hour are forecast in the quake-hit Hokuriku region and Niigata Prefecture, with gusts over 108 kilometers per hour on Sunday.

Japan’s weather service has warned that an additional 20 to 40 centimeters of snow is likely to fall in the Hokuriku region and Niigata Prefecture from January 21 through January 22, with more snow possible shortly after that.

The heavy snow also resulted in 46 cancelled flights at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport on January 16, with dozens of others delayed. The weather also may have contributed to a minor airplane collision there, according to the Japan Times, which reported:

“The airline [Korean Air] said its plane ‘came into contact’ with the Cathay aircraft at 5:35 p.m. ‘during pushback … when the third-party ground handler vehicle slipped due to heavy snow.’”



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