Tokyo gets first 'heavy snow' alert in four years
Tokyo: Japan's weather agency on Monday issued a heavy snow warning for Tokyo for the first time in four years, urging people to go home early amid fears of public transport chaos. Scores of domestic flights departing from and arriving at the Japanese capital were scrapped due to the snow, while some regional trains were also cancelled.
Japan's northern regions frequently see heavy blankets of snow but such weather is rare in Tokyo. And with the snowfall expected to get heavier, Tsumoru Matsumoto, the agency's chief forecaster, urged people to cut short their working day. "There will be heavy snow this evening" in Tokyo, Matsumoto said, warning that "the snow is likely to affect public transport" when the evening commute begins. Large crowds battled through snow at Shinjuku, the world's busiest train station, as the nightly rush hour began.
One Twitter user complained it was impossible to move in Shinjuku as it was so packed. The weather agency only issues a heavy snow alert when there are fears there could be damage to property or disruption to traffic.
"In Tokyo, we also warn of heavy snow if the snow is expected to accumulate more than 10 centimetres (4 inches) in 12 hours," Sakiko Nishioka from the weather agency said.
The last time the alert was issued, in February 2014, Tokyo saw 27 centimetres of snow.