Heavy snowfall hits Tokyo area, traffic disrupted

Tokyo and neighboring areas were hit by heavy snowfall on Monday, with transportation disrupted and the public urged to avoid unnecessary outings.

Not only mountainous areas in the Kanto-Koshin region, but central Tokyo may also see snow accumulate due to the downfall that is likely to continue through Tuesday morning as a low-pressure system advances along the southern coast of the main island of Honshu toward the east, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

Snowfall is expected to peak late at night on Monday, but commuters may still encounter snowy and icy roads the following day as a temperature drop is expected in the morning.

All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines canceled at least 100 flights in total, mostly leaving or arriving at Tokyo's Haneda airport Monday afternoon, with over 11,000 people being affected.

East Japan Railway Co. decided to suspend some limited express train services on the Chuo Line starting Monday evening.

Major expressways running through Tokyo and its vicinity, including Tomei Expressway and Metropolitan Expressway, have been partially shut down, according to operators.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism requested drivers to put on winter tires on their vehicles or carry snow chains as well as to refrain from going out unless absolutely necessary.

During a 24-hour period through Tuesday noon, 40 centimeters of snow is forecast in areas including the northern Kanto region, 30 cm in areas such as Hakone in Kanagawa Prefecture and Tama in western Tokyo, and 8 cm in Tokyo's 23 wards, according to the weather agency.

© Kyodo News