Snow slows Navy relief efforts at Misawa
MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — Earthquake- and tsunami-battered northeastern Japan was hit with a late season snowstorm early Saturday, slowing Navy relief efforts from the base.
Misawa residents woke to 7 inches of snow covering the base and snow removal teams worked to keep the flight line and taxi areas open.
The storm has delayed the relief efforts of about 500 Navy personnel and a dozen helicopters and other aircraft are temporarily assigned to Misawa. The crews have been flying daily missions to ferry food, water, blankets and other supplies to some of the hardest-hit towns along a 100-mile stretch of coast between Misawa and northern Sendai, near the epicenter of the March 11 quake.
“[The snow has] left us in kind of a holding pattern right now,” said Naval Air Facility Misawa spokesman Chief Petty Officer Daniel Sanford.
He said that officials would continue to monitor the conditions and resume flights when possible.
However, Air Force officials said the snow wouldn’t affect the arrival of flights in support of the U.S. military’s ongoing humanitarian aid efforts in the region.
“Misawa Air Base is prepared and equipped to handle winter weather and continued efforts in support of Operation Tomodachi,” said Air Force spokeswoman Capt. Kimberly Schaerdel.