Houses damaged by a snowslide in Nichinan, Japan, on Jan. 25, 2016, killing one elderly female
Tetsuya Kikumasa—AP
January 26, 2016 4:18 AM EST

Heavy snowfall in Japan has caused eight deaths and injured more than 610 people since extreme weather began buffeting the country this weekend.

A winter pressure pattern unleashed record levels of snowfall and paralyzed transportation systems, according to Japan’s Mainichi newspaper. All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines both canceled flights; 110 passengers were stranded on a bullet train on Monday; and one weather agency warned of avalanches and icy roads.

Some areas of western Japan were blanketed by about 20 in. of snow. Even islands further south felt the cold. Okinawa witnessed its second recorded snowfall in history on Sunday.

The punishing weather in Japan is part of a broader chill that has rolled through East Asia. Cities from Beijing to Hong Kong saw mercury drop well below seasonal averages this weekend.


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