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Snow over Tokyo, surrounding prefectures disrupts flights, traffic

Pedestrians are seen walking amid snowfall in front of JR Shinjuku Station in Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward on Feb. 9, 2019. (Mainichi/Naoaki Hasegawa)

TOKYO -- The Japan Meteorological Agency warned of heavy snowfall in extensive areas of the Kanto region including Tokyo on Feb. 9, as the weather disrupted flights and other traffic.

The temperature in downtown Tokyo fell to minus 0.5 degrees Celsius at 7 a.m., and the Ibaraki Prefecture city of Tsukuba and the city of Chiba in the Kanto region received a 2-centimeter layer of snow.

A total of 90 flights and 64 flights to and from Haneda and Narita airports, respectively, were cancelled because of the snowfall.

Two runways at Narita International Airport were temporarily closed to remove snow. Meanwhile, two skidding incidents occurred on the Gate Bridge in the Wakasu district of Tokyo's Koto Ward, forcing the closure of the southbound lane.

According to the agency, the snow came after a low pressure system that developed off the Izu Islands south of Tokyo moved east-northeast while gradually gaining strength, causing a pocket of cold air with a temperature of minus 6 degrees Celsius to flow into the Kanto region.

The maximum depth of snow over the 24-hour period up to 6 a.m. on Feb. 10 was estimated to be 10 centimeters in mountainous areas of the Kanto region, 8 centimeters in low-lying areas and 5 centimeters in Tokyo's 23 wards.

(Japanese original by Kazuki Mogami, City News Department; and Yuki Yamamoto, Tama General Bureau)

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