Snow wreaked havoc across the Tokyo area once again Thursday, snarling traffic, slowing trains and causing injuries.About 100 people were rushed to hospitals in Tokyo and surrounding areas after stumbling on snow-covered roads or injuring themselves while moving snow, according to fire department officials.One person had been killed and 90 others injured in 830 snow-related traffic accidents in Tokyo and eight neighboring prefectures as of 5 p.m., they said. The Meteorological Agency lifted its heavy snow warning for Tokyo at 7:30 p.m., but kept in place warnings for surrounding prefectures and central Japan.The agency said 85 cm had fallen in Kawaguchiko, Yamanashi Prefecture, by 2 p.m., and that 63 cm was recorded in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture. Kofu, also in Yamanashi Prefecture, reported 31 cm, while Tokyo and Yokohama each received 8 cm.In central Tokyo, 16 cm of snow was reported as of 7 p.m. The snow, which began falling in Tokyo late Wednesday night and was expected to continue through this morning, is likely to be heavier than that which fell Jan. 8, the Meteorological Agency said.Unlike a week ago, when many commuters had problems getting home, Thursday was the Coming-of-Age Day national holiday. Braving the weather, many women dressed in kimonos hurried to ceremonies sponsored by municipalities to celebrate reaching 20 years old — the age at which one becomes an adult in Japan. But events in some prefectures were canceled due to the snow.Parts of Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures received warnings of heavy snow, strong winds and high waves. According to the agency, up to 30 cm can be expected in central Tokyo, while open fields in surrounding prefectures are likely to get as much as 20 cm to 30 cm.An area of low pressure developing over the Pacific south of the Japanese archipelago was moving east-northeast and was expected to pass south of Tokyo on Thursday night. The snow was expected to tail off after the system has passed, according to the agency.As of 3 p.m., railway companies had canceled up to 50 percent of their regular runs as a preventive step to avoid delaying and inconveniencing an estimated 410,000 passengers. Nevertheless, delays of up to 15 minutes were reported on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line between Tokyo and Odawara, Kanagawa Prefecture.The snow toppled trees and cut overhead wires along the Chuo Line, closing a section between Takao in Tokyo and Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture.Near Minami-Ota Station on the Keihin Kyuko Line in Tokyo, a local train bound for Shinagawa derailed at about 5:20 p.m. The train slipped from its tracks while braking as it approached the station, train officials said. The four-car train had 200 people on board, but no casualties were reported.Keisei Electric Railway Co. halted Skyliner express services between Ueno station in Tokyo, and Narita airport in Chiba Prefecture, while other Tokyo-area private railways stopped express services.At Tokyo’s Haneda airport, one of the three runways was closed for an hour from 7 a.m. due to snow-clearing operations and a total of 236 domestic flights had been canceled by 11 a.m. More than 30,000 passengers were affected.Tire chains are required on sections of major expressways in the Tokyo metropolitan area, although major expressways were still open to traffic as of 10:30 a.m. All sections of the Shuto metropolitan expressway and Kanetsu expressway linking Tokyo with Niigata are closed to vehicles without tire chains.
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