Mercury rises above 40 C for second consecutive day

Kyodo

Japan remained in the grip of a severe heat wave on Sunday, with temperatures topping 40 C for the second day in a row, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

The temperature hit 40.6 C in Kofu, Yamanashi Prefecture, central Japan, and 40.4 C in Shimanto, Kochi Prefecture, western Japan.

Temperatures exceeded 35 C at 297 of 927 observation points across the country, recording 39.9 C in Mobara, Chiba Prefecture, 39.8 C in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, and 39.5 C in Tajimi, Gifu Prefecture, the agency said. The temperature in central Tokyo reached 38.3 C.

Temperatures set new records at nearly 40 observation points, while they went above 30 C at 700 points.

The severe heat caused the death of at least three people, while three people taking part in a festival in the city of Kochi in Kochi Prefecture as well as five junior high school students in Kuwana, Mie Prefecture were taken to hospital after showing symptoms of apparent heatstroke, according to firefighters.

The weather agency issued a severe heat alert for Monday covering areas stretching from the Kanto-Koshin region in eastern and central Japan to the Kyushu region in southwestern Japan and urged the public to take precautions to prevent heatstroke.

The high temperatures are expected to continue for about a week amid sunny weather, the weather agency added.

Meanwhile, atmospheric conditions became unstable in the afternoon in the Kanto-Koshin region, prompting the weather agency to issue an alert about possible tornados.

The operation of part of the Keio Line and Seibu Railway’s Tamagawa Line running in Tokyo were halted due to blackout caused by lightning strikes, while in Gunma Prefecture, roofs of some houses were blown away and windows were shattered due to strong winds.

On Saturday, temperatures exceeded 40 C for the first time in six years, soaring to 40.7 C in Kofu and Shimanto, the fourth-highest temperature on record in Japan.