A powerful winter storm in Japan has claimed 17 lives, including a woman found buried under heavy snowfall, officials said.
The storm has dumped snow in northern regions since before Christmas, blocking hundreds of vehicles on highways and delaying delivery services. He injured more than 90 people and left hundreds of homes without electricity.
Further bad weather over the Christmas weekend pushed the death toll from 11 on Saturday to 17 on Monday, according to Japan‘s Fire and Disaster Management Agency.
Many of those who died had fallen while clearing snow from roofs or had been buried under thick piles of slippery snow from roofs.
The disaster management agency said a woman in her 60s was found dead buried under a thick pile of snow on the roof that suddenly fell on her in the town of Nagai, Yamagata Prefecture, around 180 miles north of Tokyo, where snow piled more than 2.6 feet on Saturday.
Municipal offices in snowy regions have urged residents to exercise caution during snow removal activities and not to work alone.
Many areas in the northeast of the country reported three times their average snowfall for the season.
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Heavy snowfall toppled an electricity transmission tower on Japan’s northernmost main island, leaving around 20,000 homes without power on Christmas morning before power was restored to most areas later in the day, according to Japan’s Ministry of Economy and Industry.
Dozens of trains and flights were also suspended in northern Japan on Sunday, but services have mostly resumed, according to the transportation ministry.