National

Cold snap and snow hit Tokyo and surrounding areas, disrupting some flights

Kyodo

A cold snap hit Tokyo and its surrounding areas Saturday, causing cancellations of more than 100 domestic flights to and from the capital.

The Meteorological Agency said up to 5 cm of snow was expected to fall in central Tokyo by 6 a.m. Sunday due to a cold air mass above a wide swath of the country’s east.

Japan Airlines Co. and All Nippon Airways Co. canceled more than 100 flights Saturday into and out of Haneda and Narita airports servicing the capital.

At Narita airport in Chiba Prefecture, the operator closed one runway to clear it of snow.

Snowfall of up to 2 cm was observed in parts of Chiba.

The temperature in central Tokyo registered half a degree Celsius below zero at 7 a.m. and snow fell for a few hours. But the snow turned into cold rain by early afternoon.

Some major universities in Tokyo held entrance examinations on Saturday, but no major delays were reported. Universities had braced for train disruptions and other trouble with public transportation.

“I left a hotel early in the morning,” said Keisuke Fukuda, 19, who was on his way to Chuo University in Bunkyo Ward to take an entrance exam.

At Haneda airport in Ota Ward, some passengers had to change flights due to cancellations. “I learned my flight had been cancelled only after I arrived here. I’m at a loss,” said a 19-year-old woman who was waiting in a queue to change her flight to Osaka.

Some minor road accidents were reported. On the Tokyo Gate Bridge, which connects two man-made islands in Tokyo Bay, three cars were involved in a minor crash on Saturday morning after one of the vehicles apparently slipped on the snowy road, police said. A man in his 40s who was in one of the cars reported pain in his neck and back, the police said.

Cold weather also continued to hit Hokkaido on Saturday, with the mercury dropping below minus 20 in many locations, including Rikubetsu, where the temperature was recorded at minus 31.8, according to the agency.