Sapporo: Some 21,000 households in southern Hokkaido, Japan's second largest island, spent a night without electricity in freezing temperatures after a snowstorm cut power to as many as 56,000 households the previous day, a regional utility said on Wednesday.
The mercury dropped to minus 5.7 C in the morning in Noboribetsu, the lowest temperature logged this winter, as Hokkaido Electric Power Co. scrambled to fix power transmission facilities, including a steel tower knocked flat by the snowstorm, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency and the utility.

A total of 290 people whose household heating equipment was paralyzed by the power outage spent the night at evacuation shelters set up in Noboribetsu as well as six other cities and towns, the Hokkaido prefectural government said.

The snowstorm induced by a strong low-pressure system in the northern Pacific also knocked out electricity in Muroran by severing power transmission lines, the utility added.


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