Tokyo has first snow of season

NHK -- Jan 07

Tokyo has had its first snowfall of the season, with 10 centimeters accumulating in central parts of the capital.

The Meteorological Agency says a low-pressure system off Japan's Pacific coast has brought snow to a wide area in the Kanto region including Tokyo, and Shizuoka Prefecture west of Kanto. Parts of southern Kanto have seen heavy snow.

As of 6 p.m. on Thursday, 10 centimeters of snow had fallen in central Tokyo, 8 centimeters in Tsukuba City, and 7 centimeters in the cities of Chiba and Yokohama.

It's the first time this season that snow has fallen in the cities, and the first time in two years for central Tokyo.

The agency has issued a heavy snow warning for Tokyo's 23 wards for the first time in four years.

Weather officials say snow or rain will continue to fall overnight in Kanto through predawn hours of Friday.

During the 24-hour period until Friday evening, up to 5 centimeters of snow is expected in the plains of southern Kanto, and 3 centimeters in mountainous areas of southern Kanto as well as Ibaraki and Shizuoka prefectures.

Weather officials said the low-pressure system was small but developed more and brought more snow than expected.

Temperatures have fallen below zero in the Kanto-Koshin region and Shizuoka Prefecture, and will remain low through Friday morning.

Weather officials advise people in the areas to be alert for icy roads, traffic disruptions and blackouts caused by snow piling up on electric cables.

Drivers are advised to use winter tires or snow chains.