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Rare Snowstorm For Japan

A strong storm moving up the eastern coastline of Japan brought some heavy snowfall Saturday into early Sunday for areas that typically don't see much in the way of snow.

Tokyo, Japan is difficult to see snow due to the high peak of Mount Fuji just to the west of Tokyo, blocking a lot of the storms moving in from the west, and most storms coming in from the south and east are to warm.

This storm was similar to storms that Nor'Easters as this storm developed quickly as it pushes just off the coastline. This brought Tokyo and other cities in eastern Japan some heavy, rare snowfall.

Tokyo has seen 8.7 inches (22 cm) of snow from this storm, and it looks like some of the heaviest snowfall seen was in Matsumoto where 19.2 inches (49 cm) of snow fell. With Tokyo being right near the coastline, a snowfall like this is something rarely seen.

The last time Tokyo had over 8.7 inches (22 cm) of snow was back in January of 1998 when 12.6 inches (32 cm) of snow fell in the month.

Winds with this storm were also quite gusty as Tokyo airport saw winds gust to 50 mph (80 kph) during the heaviest snowfall with the storm. The wind and snow caused over 40,000 households to lose power and over 700 flights to be cancelled at Tokyo's Haneda airport, according to NHK World. The bullet train was slowed due to the snow and roads in Tokyo were impassable in places.

Tragically, 3 people died with this storm so far, and over 500 people were injured from the storm and the aftermath.

The Japan Meteorology Agency has said this is the heaviest snowfall from one storm since a storm in January, 1994.

Over the next few days, light snow will be seen in parts of western Honshu, and Tokyo will see just a few snow showers on Monday into Tuesday, but this should only bring a dusting to a few centimeters of snow. Some indications are for another strong storm for Friday into Saturday of next week, and depending on the exact track, we could see either snow or rain with this storm.

Story by AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Alan Reppert