Blizzards coat wide area; three die

Kyodo

One of the strongest cold fronts to hit this winter caused snow Monday to paste the Pacific coast from east to west as well as wide areas along the Sea of Japan coast.

Two people in their 70s died after they were buried in snow that fell from the roof of a house in Fukushima Prefecture on Sunday night, while a man was killed when a small truck struck his car in Chiba Prefecture on Monday morning.

In the city of Fukushima, a car skidded and rammed into a line of elementary school children on their way to school Monday morning, injuring four of them.

The snowfall, caused by a cold front hovering over Japan since last weekend, also forced the brief closure of Narita airport’s two runways for snow removal, resulting in the cancellation of 14 flights, according to Narita International Airport Corp.

Two flights bound for Narita had to divert, one to Haneda airport in Tokyo and the other to Kansai airport in Osaka Prefecture.

According to the Narita Aviation Weather Service Center, the airport received up to 8 cm of snow between 8 and 10 a.m.

Snow also forced bullet trains on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line connecting Tokyo and Osaka to travel at reduced speed between Nagoya and Shin-Osaka stations, falling behind schedule by up to 49 minutes.