At least 17 dies in Japan as heavy snowfall wrecks havoc

Japan witnessed heavy snowfall over Christmas weekend, resulting in thick layers of snow everywhere in affected areas. These thick layers of snow caused the deaths of at least 17 people because of getting either buried under thick snow or because of slipping down the roof and falling to their death. Along with these deaths, hundreds of people have been injured because of the slippery snow. Heavy snows followed by strong winds have also caused the power lines to fail, thus causing power outages in affected areas. Similar incidents were reported in the US, where heavy snowfall, blizzards, and extremely low temperatures caused the death of over 37 people. 

This year’s Christmas exposed people to some of the harshest weather conditions. Throughout the weekend, the US and Canada reported heavy blizzards with temperatures as low as -50 to -70 degree Celsius. Heavy blizzards caused power outages and disturbances in nationwide transport, thus ruining the Christmas travel plans for millions of people. Similarly, the Northern regions of Japan reported heavy snowfalls, stacking thick layers of snow. In Japan, the snowfall continued throughout last week, which remained throughout Christmas week. Because of this, the transport was completely shut off in the country, which disrupted all the delivery services. Many vehicles, private as well as public, were left stranded as snow accumulated on the road making it impossible to drive. It also increased the risk of accidents, as the roads become slippery after snow. Japan’s disaster management agency said that by the end of Christmas weekend, at least 17 deaths were confirmed which occurred due to people getting buried under the thick snow layers. Many fell to their death after slipping from their rooftops as they went to clear the snow that was collected on their roofs. Because of this, the local authorities had to issue a warning to advise people not to go alone while clearing the snow off of roofs and always have someone along to look after them. The disaster management agency reported the death of an elderly woman who died as the snow from the roof fell on her and she got buried deep under it. This year’s snowfall was almost three times more than the previous year. 

In the Northern region, heavy snow destroyed the electric power transmission tower, disrupting the power supply for over 20,000 people living in the area. This incident was quickly addressed by the authorities, fixing the power in most of the areas. The effect of heavy snowfall was also seen on public transport such as trains and flights as most of them were suspended on Christmas weekend. These issues were also soon addressed by the authorities, as the train service was restored soon. The snowfall has depleted significantly in the country, which is expected to give the authorities to deal with the accumulated snow and to restore all the required services to normal. Researchers have linked these heavy snowfall and blizzard conditions to climate change, as climate change has altered the atmospheric conditions that are favoring these natural disasters.