Tokyo: Over the Christmas holiday, heavy snowfall in northern Japan and other regions of the nation claimed the lives of at least 17 people and injured over 90 others, CNN reported on Tuesday citing the authorities.
Strong winter fronts have pounded parts of Japan hard with heavy snow, especially around the west coast, according to meteorological officials, stranding cars on the roads and delaying delivery services since mid-December. Citing an official associated with Japan's Fire and Disaster Management Agency, CNN stated a woman in her 70s died after she was buried underneath the snow that fell off a roof in Nagai city, Yamagata prefecture. The cause of her death was due to the excessive piling up of snow, higher than 80 centimeters (2.6 feet) by Saturday.
Last week, the Japan Meteorological Agency reported that snow accumulation in some areas was far above average.
The weather has been becoming worse in Japan over the past few years. While areas of the south were hammered by torrential rains from a violent typhoon in September, the northeastern regions of Hokkaido experienced severe snowstorms in December, CNN reported.
Harsh winters have not only claimed lives in Japan but also across US where the death toll has crossed 50. Several homes and businesses have been knocked out of power due to harsh weather conditions in the US, Al Jazeera reported.
As a consequence of the Arctic blast and the winter storm, numerous people have died and suffered weather-related road accidents or the cold. The storm has sent temperatures well below freezing across the US and has destroyed Christmas eve for many. As it pounded regions, the storm delivered hurricane-force winds and whiteout conditions.
All kinds of transportation - planes, trains, and vehicles - were disrupted due to the storm this holiday weekend, closing hundreds of miles of road and air travel cancellations.
Moreover, Philippines also reported deaths followed by flash floods and heavy rains on Christmas eve, heavy rains and flash floods over Christmas claimed 13 lives in the Philippines, with a further 23 missing who are believed to be fishermen, Al Jazeera reported on Tuesday citing the country's disaster management council.
The calamity not only wreaked havoc in the country but also pushed more than 45,000 people into evacuation centers for shelter. The fishermen who are reportedly missing went out to sea despite the dangers associated with bad weather, the disaster agency said.