Heavy Snow Kills 13 People in Akita Pref.

Society Lifestyle Politics

Akita, Jan. 7 (Jiji Press)--Heavy snow in Akita Prefecture, northeastern Japan, had claimed the lives of 13 people as of Wednesday.

The local meteorological observatory in Akita warned that a snowstorm is likely to hit the prefecture from Thursday night through Friday, calling on residents to refrain from going out.

As of 1 p.m. Thursday (4 a.m. GMT), snowfall stood at 150 centimeters in the city of Yokote and 134 centimeters in the city of Yuzawa, with the amounts almost four times the levels in normal years, according to the local observatory. Both cities are located in the southern part of the prefecture.

In inland areas in the prefecture, a maximum instantaneous wind speed of 30 meters per second is forecast through Friday. Snowfall is expected to reach up to 50 centimeters in the 24 hours to 6 a.m. Friday.

According to the Akita prefectural police department, 97 people suffered injuries due to the heavy snow, on top of the 13 deaths. Some of them were hit by blocks of snow falling from roofs while others fell off roofs.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press