The Japan Meteorological Agency has issued a very rare low temperature advisory for capital Tokyo as cold air started affecting the country on Wednesday, January 24, 2018. This is the first such warning for Tokyo in 33 years, officials said, adding the cold weather will continue until Saturday, January 27. By Thursday morning, the temperature in Tokyo dropped to -4 °C (24.8 °F), which is the lowest this city has seen in 48 years.
A rare heavy snowfall hit Japanese capital Tokyo on Monday, January 22, 2018, causing around 700 traffic accident, stranding more than 9 000 travelers and leaving more than 180 people injured.
The snowfall began during the morning hours (local time) of January 22, causing severe traffic problems. The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) issued a warning to all of Tokyo's 23 wards at around 14:30 local time, making it the first official heavy snow warning since February 2014.
By the end of the day, JMA measured as much as 23 cm (9 inches) of snow in some parts of Tokyo, the biggest snowfall since February 2014.
The Tokyo Fire Department, which runs the ambulance service, said it had responded to 2 826 calls for help on Wednesday, January 24, making it their busiest day since the service began in 1936.
"Generally, we receive more calls in winter. But we think the combination of influenza, heavy snow and cold weather contributed to the record high number," a fire department spokesman told AFP.
By the end of the day, a very cold air mass started affecting wide areas of the country, forcing JMA to issue a low temperature advisory for entire city for the first time since late January 1985. JMA issues such warnings when the water inside pipes might freeze or pipes might rupture, or when crops might be damaged.
By Thursday morning, the temperature in Tokyo dropped to -4 °C (24.8 °F), the lowest this city has seen in 48 years, according to JMA. The temperature was measured at Kitanomaru Park in Chiyoda Ward at 06:20 local time on January 25.
On the same day, the temperatures in Hokkaido, well accustomed to cold winters, dropped to -31.3 °C (-24.3 °F), for the first time this winter. Some parts of Hokkaido even registered record lows.
In terms of snow, some regions like Aomori Prefecture in northern Honshu are under 3 m (9.8 feet) today, the highest this season. The region saw 50 cm (19.7 inches) of snow on Wednesday alone.
Low temperatures in Tokyo are expected to reach -3 °C (26.6 °F) on Friday, January 26, -2 °C (28.4 °F) on January 27, and -1 °C (30.2 °F) on January 28.
JMA expects a return to average temperatures (0 to 1 °C / 32 to 33.8 °F) around Monday, January 29.
Featured image: Tokyo on January 23, 2018. Credit: PKCrunch