Japan experiencing its second heaviest snowfall year on record

From ski.com.au (minus the advertorial…)

The central industrial city of Nagoya recorded 23cm of snow, the most in 58 years, the bullet train was also forced to slow down between Tokyo and the western city of Osaka, and the Niseko area now has a snowbase at the top of the mountain approaching 3 metres.

A recent blizzard claimed the lives of six people in Fukui prefecture, 350km west of Tokyo. The dead were mostly older men who fell from their roofs as they shovelled snow, a prefectural official said.

Nearly two metres of snow piled up in Fukui on Sunday, with the weather agency forecasting another 70cm to fall by Tuesday morning.

Three meteorological stations – two in Hiroshima prefecture and one in Shiga prefecture, both in western Japan – have already marked their record snowfall for this date. The central industrial city of Nagoya recorded 23cm of snow, the most in 58 years, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. At least 48 flights had to be cancelled by the two main carriers, Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways.

Heavy snow causes havoc in Japan, Korea

From smh.com.au

Heavy snow caused havoc in many parts of Japan and South Korea, leaving hundreds of thousands of homes without electricity, disrupting traffic and even forcing nuclear power plants to shut down.

In the northern Japanese prefecture of Niigata, 650,000 homes and businesses were initially left without power due to the snow and strong winds, Tohoku Electric Power Co said. About 270,000 customers still did not have electricity.

“The weather is not improving, so we cannot get to the sites and make repairs,” a Tohoku spokesman said. “It is a difficult situation.”

About 1,000 traffic lights were out in Niigata city, and television footage showed empty streets. Most trains in the prefecture, including the high-speed bullet train linking it with Tokyo, were temporarily halted by the outage.

Two nuclear power plants in the western prefecture of Fukui automatically stopped operating because of technical problems with electric transmission systems caused by the heavy snow, but the reactors were not damaged and there was no radiation leak, their operator, Kansai Electric Power Co, said.

Some of the heaviest snowfalls on record for this time of year have hit Japan since last week, even in some southern prefectures that rarely see snow, but have spared Tokyo. In northern Niigata, snow had piled up as high as 184 cm and the Meteorological Agency expects more snow in the coming days, warning people in affected regions to take precautionary measures.

In South Korea, snow in the southern and south-western areas claimed at least one life, stranded thousands of motorists and damaged hundreds of greenhouses, local media reported. Several thousand South Korean troops have been deployed to clear highways and remove snow from the roofs of structures to prevent their collapse, the reports said. South Korean officials said damage has been estimated at about $US150 million ($A204.67 million).

About 40 cm to 50 cm of snow have fallen in the past day in parts of the region.