Tokyo braces for rare heavy snowfall, trains disrupted

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 21, 2018 10:57 PM

TOKYO (Reuters) - Tokyo braced for heavy snowfall on Monday, prompting Japan's national broadcaster to urge the city's workaholic citizens to head home early, and some train operators to cancel services.

Snow began falling on Monday morning, and as much as 10 cm (4 inches) was predicted for central Tokyo by the time the snow was expected to stop early on Tuesday.

The Japanese capital, which is on roughly the same latitude as the U.S. city of Raleigh, North Carolina, often sees snow at least once a year, but this time it is expected to accumulate, rather than quickly melt as it usually does.A looming low pressure system and cold front just off the coast of the Japanese main island of Honshu was expected to bring low temperatures and more snow throughout the day and night, the Japanese Meteorological Agency said.

Some train companies had already canceled express trains, while others were decreasing the number of runs. Two weeks ago hundreds of people were trapped overnight in a train in northern Japan due to heavy snow.

NHK national broadcaster issued 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.

"All the government offices are staying in close contact, gathering information and responding based on various scenarios," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference. "We call on all citizens to keep informed about the latest conditions and beware of transport delays."

(Reporting by Kaori Kaneko and Elaine Lies, writing by Elaine Lies,)