Bases' operations slowed by snow in S. Korea, Japan
By ERIK SLAVIN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 5, 2013
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Winter weather delayed schools and some operations at U.S. military bases in South Korea and Japan on Wednesday, though snowfalls were much lighter than anticipated in much of Japan’s heavily populated Kanto region.
In South Korea, as much as six inches of snow fell in some areas overnight, leading to two-hour delays at schools in Seoul and at Camp Humphreys.
Road conditions at Humphreys and for most bases in and north of Seoul were “red” Wednesday morning, prohibiting the use of military vehicles except for emergencies and essential business.
Forecasts called for snow to return to the peninsula Thursday, with a half-inch accumulation expected in Area IV, the country’s southernmost region.
In the Tokyo metropolitan area, schools closed at Yokota Air Base and ran on a two-hour delay at Camp Zama, Yokosuka Naval Base and Naval Air Facility Atsugi.
Yokota and parts of Tokyo were expected to get one to two inches of snow by late afternoon, a Japan Meteorological Agency spokesman said.
At Yokota, the 374th Airlift Wing commander called for minimal manning, meaning only command employees considered emergency essential were required to work Wednesday. The base hospital was rescheduling Wednesday appointments but remained open for emergency care.
Atsugi, which is closer to the mountains than Yokosuka is, experienced snow flurries but no accumulation Wednesday morning. Some major commands started work two hours later than usual, officials said.
West of Tokyo, a little over an inch of snow was reported in Sagamihara, near Camp Zama, a Yokohama Meteorological Observatory said. Central Yokohama received brief sleet, but no snow.
To the south, Yokosuka and its outlying Negishi and Ikego housing areas were receiving rain only by 11 a.m. on Wednesday. All installation facilities remained open.
Japan Rail had about 70 percent of its trains running in the Kanto region Wednesday; other train and subway systems in the area were reporting delays as of 11:30 a.m.
In northern Japan, Misawa Air Base’s forecast called for snow Thursday afternoon, and severe weather is expected through Friday, an official at the Aomori Meteorological Observatory said.
Stars and Stripes reporters Hana Kusumoto and Jon Rabiroff contributed to this report.