Heavy snow in Japan causes blackouts in Hokkaido, flight cancellations and train delays: Reports

Heavy snow in Japan causes blackouts in Hokkaido, flight cancellations and train delays: Reports

Heavy snowfall continued to blanket areas across northern, eastern and western Japan on Saturday (Dec 24), paralysing traffic and causing blackouts.

The snowfall that has continued along the Sea of Japan coast in northern and western areas in the country since Dec 17 has killed 11 people and injured 77 people as of Saturday morning, according to Japanese public broadcaster NHK.


According to NHK, more than 7,500 households in Japan’s northernmost prefecture Hokkaido had no electricity as of 10am.

Hokkaido Electric Power said its investigation found that a steel tower that supports power lines had collapsed, and it was not sure when it can restore the power supply.

The Japan News reported that the storm had caused a transmission tower to collapse in Hokkaido’s Monbetsu city on Friday, temporarily cutting power for up to 24,000 homes in the region, including the entire city of Monbetsu.

The Hokkaido prefectural government had on Friday night asked the Self-Defense Forces to send disaster relief teams to provide support to Mombetsu, reported NHK.

In response to Hokkaido’s request for disaster relief, about 20 members from the force had helped provide relief at a shelter set up in the city, lending out stoves and other items, said The Japan News.

About 6,800 households in Niigata Prefecture were also without power as of 6am on Saturday due to strong winds and fallen trees caused by heavy snowfalls, NHK reported, citing Utility company Tohoku Electric Power.

Roads in the prefecture were closed and trains were suspended.


Snow and strong winds have also disrupted air traffic, reported NHK.

According to the national broadcaster, Japan Airlines had canceled 14 flights to and from Niigata, Komatsu and other airports as of 6am on Saturday.

All Nippon Airways had also canceled six flights to and from New Chitose, Shonai and other airports.

Airline companies are calling on people to check the latest information on their websites, as more flights may be cancelled.