Sasebo base shuts down after snowfall, with more expected through weekend
SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — Students enjoyed a snow day out of school and most adults working on base also got a day off Thursday after an uncommon snowfall dumped an attractive, but potentially treacherous, layer of white.
Base officials closed the installation to all but essential personnel until a weather status re-evaluation at noon Friday. Base schools were to remain closed Friday.
The base closure included the commissaries and Navy Exchange facilities at least until Friday’s review.
An uncommonly thick, steady snowfall began Wednesday afternoon, continuing overnight and starting again Thursday morning.
On most vehicles and lawns, up to three inches of snow appeared to have accumulated. But after the first 24 hours, measurements showed actual accumulations of less than two inches, said Petty Officer 2nd Class Ryan Done, weather forecaster at Naval Pacific Meteorology and Oceanography, Sasebo Detachment.
Done said Saturday’s forecast includes heavier snowfall with accumulations up to two inches; the snow should end by sunset on Sunday, he said.
Late Friday morning, weather detachment and base officials were slated to meet to decide whether the base should be reopened, if only long enough to allow people a chance to pick up supplies they need before Saturday’s snow, he noted.
“I’m really surprised that this could even happen here,” said Lt. Megan Miller, manager at the Navy Branch Medical Clinic at the Hario Housing Village. “When I first got here some people said it snowed once in a while, but very little.”
Miller enjoyed having some time off Thursday even though she remained on call.
In the mountains surrounding Sasebo, elevations at 500 feet and above received even more snow, with more predicted — up to eight inches on Saturday alone.
About 250 miles northeast of Sasebo, at Iwakuni Marine Corps Air Station, a base official said Thursday there was snow but little accumulation. Some was visible on cars and rooftops. Less than a half-inch fell on the Marine base, he estimated.