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Record-breaking temperatures hit Hokkaido, 5 killed and nearly 600 hospitalized, Japan

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At least 5 people have been killed and nearly 600 hospitalized after severe heatwave, in some areas record-breaking, hit parts of Japan over the past couple of days.

Unseasonably hot conditions affected wide areas of Japan on May 26 amd 27, 2019, leading to deaths of 5 people. At least 575 people across the country were admitted to hospitals and treated for heatstroke symptoms, Kyodo reported.

The coastal city of Saroma, Hokkaido registered 39.5 °C (103.1 °F) on May 26, breaking the previous May record of 37.2 °C (98.6 °F) set in 1993, the Japan Meteorological agency said.

This is also a record-high temperature for any time in Hokkaido, one of the coldest regions in Japan with an average daily high temperature of only 11 °C (51.8 °F).

Temperatures in the month of May had never reached 35 °C (95 °F) in Hokkaido and the previous all-time high in the region was 37.8 °C (100 °F) set on June 3, 2014 in Otofuke and on July 12, 1924 in Obihiro.

Of the JMA's 926 monitoring posts across the country, 53 locations, mainly in Hokkaido, registered temperatures of 35.0 °C (95 °F) or higher on Sunday, and climbed above 30 °C (86 °F) at 513 locations across the country, Kyodo said.

Hokkaido Railway Co. canceled the operation of a number of trains due to fears of rail distortion.

Featured image credit: Benny Ang

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