At least 11 dead in Japan snow storm

Feb. 16, 2014 at 1:55 AM
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TOKYO, Feb. 16 (UPI) -- Japan was socked with up to 45 inches of snow this weekend by a storm blamed by authorities for at least 11 deaths.

Kyodo News reported that in addition to those killed in storm-related incidents, more than 1,100 others were injured since Friday.

The news service said the 10 1/2-inch snowfall in Tokyo matched the amount dumped on the city just a week earlier. The back-to-back storms were among the worst the metropolis has seen in the past several decades.

Kyodo said traffic was snarled on roadways and the storm disrupted rail and air travel as well with about 4,500 people stranded at Tokyo's Haneda airport overnight into Saturday.

The news service said one person died in a five-vehicle pileup on the Tomei Expressway in Shizuoka and four people died in Gunma, Saitama and Nagano prefectures Saturday when ceilings collapsed under the weight of snow. Other snow-related deaths were reported in Gunma, Yamanashi, Shiga and Oita prefectures.

Several avalanches occurred along a major road connecting Miyagi and Yamagata prefectures.

Record snowfalls were reported in many cities, including about 45 inches at Kofu, almost 32 inches at Iida, 28 at Maebashi and more than 24 at Kumagaya, 22 1/2 at Shiroishi. Fukushima had more than 21 inches, the fourth-most ever for that city.

The Japan Meteorological Agency forecast heavy snow to continue Sunday in the northeastern Tohoku region with blizzard conditions and high tides, Kyodo said.

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