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Tokyo and surrounding areas brace for heavy snowfall

Ns News Online Desk:Ns News Online Desk: Tokyo and surrounding areas braced for heavy snow from late Thursday afternoon, with flights canceled, train services halted and highways closed, and the weather agency urging caution against frozen roads and traffic disruptions.

The Japan Meteorological Agency forecast rain and snow through Friday mainly in the Kanto-Koshin region including Tokyo due to a low atmospheric pressure system moving eastward and cold air. Snow may also affect power lines.

In the 24 hours through 6 a.m. Friday, snowfall could reach 30 centimeters in the Koshin region, 25 cm in the northern part of the Kanto region, and 20 cm in the Tama area in western Tokyo and other areas near the Japanese capital such as Hakone in Kanagawa Prefecture.

Tokyo, which does not experience snowfall regularly, already saw snow in some areas on Thursday morning. The agency said the 23 wards comprising central districts of the Japanese capital are expected to see 5 cm of snow in a 24-hour period through 6 a.m. Friday morning.

The weather agency, meanwhile, has issued snow alerts for parts of Shizuoka Prefecture in central Japan, predicting up to 30 cm of snowfall in some areas during the 24 hours through Friday noon.

A total of 169 domestic flights to and from Tokyo’s Haneda airport have been canceled, while 67 train runs including rapid services running in Tokyo and the nearby prefectures of Yamanashi and Nagano prefectures were halted.

The Chuo-kanjo-sen Belt Line on the Metropolitan Expressway closed some parts to prepare for possible snow accumulation. The closure may be expanded to prevent vehicles from being stuck in the snow.

A cold front at an altitude of around 1,500 meters will be 3 C colder than in usual years, the agency said.

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