Tokyo (AFP) – Tokyo woke up Thursday to its first November snowfall in more than half a century, leaving commuters to grapple with train disruptions and slick streets.
Snow began falling before dawn with the mercury approaching zero as a cold weather system moved south.
The Japan Meterological Agency said it was the first time snow had fallen in November in central Tokyo since 1962.
Amounts were greater in suburban areas closer to mountains but even central Tokyo saw brief accumulations, which the agency forecast to be as high as two centimetres (one inch).
That was the first November accumulation since records began in 1875, the agency said.
“I was surprised to see snow at such an early stage of the season,” said Hiroko Tanaka, a Tokyo resident.
“I felt this may be a sign of something abnormal in terms of natural phenomena,” she told AFP.
But experts say the situation is nothing to worry about.
“Today’s snowfall and accumulation occurred because several elements came together at once by chance,” said Sakiko Nishioka, an agency official in charge of weather forecasting.
“It does not mean this can signal any unusual weather conditions this season such as a super cold winter,” Nishioka told AFP, adding that it was also unclear if it was related to climate change or events such as El Nino.
Tokyo, which extends over a wide area and includes many suburbs, enjoys relatively mild winters compared to some other parts of the country where snowfall is more frequent. Read the rest of this entry »
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