A powerful winter storm pummelled a wide swathe of Japan, bringing blizzard conditions and sub-zero temperatures, weather authorities said Thursday.
Commuters in Tokyo saw temperatures drop to four degrees below zero on Thursday morning, a level the capital had not seen in 48 years, as the Meteorological Agency issued a cold weather warning to the region for the first time in 30 years.
A total of 1,900 people had to spend the night in train cars as heavy snow caused delays to high-speed bullet trains between Nagoya and Osaka, broadcaster NHK reported.
The agency warned of strong winds, high waves, blizzard conditions and heavy snow across wide areas of Japan due to "cold air of the sort that comes only once in many years."
On Wednesday, the storm brought wind gusts of up to 113 kilometres per hour in Erimo Town on the northern island Hokkaido, while temperatures plunged to 30.8 degrees below zero in the town of Kimobetsu, the Hokkaido Shimbun newspaper reported.
Japan has been hard-hit this winter. On Monday, the heaviest snow in four years battered the capital, injuring hundreds of people and causing more than 700 traffic accidents.
Additional snowfall of up to 80 centimetres is forecast for Sea of Japan coastal areas and up to 50 centimetres for Nagano prefecture and north-eastern Japan by Friday morning, according to the agency.
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