Dangerous travel conditions are unfolding across the Korean Peninsula and parts of Japan as a strengthening storm brings rain and heavy snow as it races across the region.
A storm that moved through northeastern China over the weekend remained in place into early Monday, keeping areas of rain and snow Most areas received a slushy 1-2 inches (3-5 cm) of snow, including Beijing, which set a record-high winter temperature just a few days ago.
The storm gained intensity as it neared the Korean Peninsula Monday and Tuesday, pulling in more moisture from the Yellow Sea. Areas of heavy precipitation spread over the Korean Peninsula, with rain across the south and snowy weather in central and northeastern parts of South Korea.
The Gangwon Providence of northeastern South Korea was one of the hardest hit, with 4-8 inches (10-20 cm) of snow inland, and as much as 30 inches (76 cm) in the mountains.
Heavier snow caught some motorists off guard as several accidents were reported through Tuesday with travel disruptions along the Seoul Yangyang Expressway, the Donghae Expressway and Misiryeong East-West Passing Road.
As of 6 a.m. on Tuesday morning, local time, there were at least 53 traffic accidents reported in northeastern South Korea, according to Yonhap News. In total, at least 94 injuries people were reported as well as one death, all of which were attributed to the accidents in the snow.
Train, ferry and air travel schedules were all impacted by the storm, and schools were closed in portions of the country on Tuesday.
In total, 6-12 inches (15-30 cm) also fell across eastern North Korea and into northeastern South Korea through early Tuesday morning.
The storm moved rain and snow across much of Japan Monday night and Tuesday.
By Tuesday evening, the storm had moved east of Japan, taking most of the precipitation out to sea, but not before dumping heavy snow across parts of Hokkaido in northern Japan.
Residents remove accumulated snow from a pathway by a shovels in Iwamizawa, Hokkaido Prefecture on March 2nd, 2021. (Reuters)
Snowfall totals of up to 18-24 inches (45-60 cm) were largely limited to Hokkaido, just north of where the center of the storm.
Farther south, precipitation began as rain before changing over to snow in Tohoku and Chubu, and accumulating up to 3-6 inches (8-15 cm) with locally higher amounts in the mountains.
On the southern side of the storm, mainly rain fell from Osaka to Tokyo. Rainfall totals were estimated around 1-2 inches (25-50 mm).
A brief period of dry weather will return by early Wednesday morning, and continue into Thursday before the next storm arrives by the end of the week.
Areas that received snow this week across northern Chubu have already faced rounds of disruptive snow this season. Rounds of sea-effect snow have broken records, stranded thousands of motorists on highways and lead to at least 10 fatalities during December and January.
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