Continued heavy snowfall disrupts traffic nationwide

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A resident shovels snow from a car buried by snowfall in Yuzawa, Niigata Prefecture, on Monday.

Heavy snowfall continued Monday morning mainly on the Sea of Japan side of the nation due to a strong cold front.

It was the coldest day this season in many parts of the country.

Heavy snow is expected to continue until Tuesday, with the Japan Meteorological Agency warning of snow accumulation and frozen roads.

On Monday morning, the amount of snowfall over a 24-hour period was 71 centimeters in Asago, Hyogo Prefecture; 70 centimeters in Minakami, Gunma Prefecture; and 68 centimeters in Hikone, Shiga Prefecture, according to the agency.

Snowfall in the 24 hours to 6 a.m. Tuesday is expected to reach 90 centimeters in the Hokuriku region, 80 centimeters in Tokai and Kinki, 60 centimeters in Tohoku, 50 centimeters in Kanto-Koshin, 40 centimeters in Chugoku and 15 centimeters in northern Kyushu. There is a possibility of heavy snowfall on the Pacific Ocean side as well.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Icicles hang from a crane-shaped fountain in Hibiya Park, Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, on Monday.

The lowest temperature in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward was -2.2 C, the first time in 45 years that a temperature of 2 degrees below zero was observed in December.

Traffic was also affected. The Meishin Expressway, Hokuriku Expressway and other expressways were closed. As of 8:30 a.m., more than 30 domestic flights were cancelled, and the Tokaido Shinkansen was delayed.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Traffic jams on Route 8 due to a stranded truck, in Hikone, Shiga Prefecture, on Monday.

Part of a crane-shaped fountain froze in Hibiya Park in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward, where the weather was bitterly cold. Icicles hung from the wings and pedestals, prompting commuters in coats to take photos with their smartphones.