Records drop as winter storm whips nation

The nation shivered Jan. 22 and transportation was hindered as the season’s coldest weather and relatively heavy snowfalls hit.The temperature dropped to minus 18.5 in Asahikawa, Hokkaido, minus 9.8 in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, minus 5.2 in Nagoya, minus 3.6 in Osaka, and minus 1.5 in Tokyo.On Hachijo-Jima, an island about 200 km south of Tokyo, snow fell for the first time in 16 years as a 2 cm blanket covered the ground. In Tokyo, the mercury dropped to minus 6.3 in the Okutama area and minus 2.9 in Nerima Ward; in Hibiya Park, fountain jets froze.A cold front measuring minus 45 moved from China and crossed Japan, bringing snow to the northern and western part of the country, including Osaka, Hiroshima and Fukuoka. In the Kyoto area, snow paralyzed transportation systems. At a Chuo Ward observation point in Kyoto, the snowfall measured 5 cm, according to the Osaka District Meteorological Observatory. It was the first January snow in Osaka since 1985, when 1 cm fell, according to the observatory.Snow fell to a depth of 15 cm in Kyoto, 2 cm in Kobe and 15 cm in Toyooka, Hyogo Prefecture. The snow forced West Japan Railway Co. to operate bullet trains at reduced speeds of between 120 and 170 kph on the Sanyo Shinkansen Line, which caused a 100-minute delay on the Nozomi line. Other bullet trains were delayed up to 80 minutes.