In the Japanese tourism world, Sapporo, capital city of the mountainous northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, is famous for its beer, skiing and annual Sapporo Snow Festival featuring enormous ice sculptures. Hokkaido had heavy snow Friday, with Sapporo observing the heaviest snowfall in 50 years for December, and nearly 50,000 people were affected after air and railway traffic was disrupted.
The snowfall in the prefectural capital reached 96 cm (over 37 inches) as of 9 p.m. Friday, topping 90 cm for the first time in December since 1966.
Heavy snow forced airline companies to cancel more than 260 flights linking New Chitose Airport, south of Sapporo, and other locations, according to the airport operator. Hokkaido Railway Co. also said it canceled over 380 train services.
Strong winds caused a power outage at some 3,800 homes in the town of Erimo and part of Samani town.