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Record heat turns deadly in Japan on Sunday, relief to arrive on Tuesday

By Adam Douty, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
By Eric Leister, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
May 27, 2019, 7:55:32 AM EDT

All-time high temperature records were broken on Sunday in Japan as temperatures soared over 38 C (100 F).

Summerlike temperatures took over Japan on Sunday with temperatures rising to 39.5 C (103 F) on the island of Hokkaido, according to the Japanese Meteorological Agency.

This was the first time the temperature has ever risen past 38 C (100.4 F) in Hokkaido during any month of the year. This temperature also set a new record for the highest temperature during the month of May in all of Japan.

The previous record-high temperature in Hokkaido was 37.8 (100 F) set in Otofuke on June 3, 2014.

The heat turned deadly when two people died on Sunday in northern Japan. A third person is in serious condition after collapsing during a marathon, according to The Strait Times.

At least 575 people were hospitalized across the country due to heat-related symptoms according to the Japan Times.

Japan AP 7/16

A strong ridge of high pressure across the country set the stage for the recent extreme heat. In Saroma, where the record temperatures were set, a downsloping wind helped to further warm the air.

A downsloping wind happens when air is blown from higher to lower elevations, such as on the leeward side of mountains. This sinking motion causes warming.

Japan Weather Center
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Interactive radar for Japan

The Strait Times also reported that at least 40 train services in eastern Hokkaido were canceled over concerns that the extreme heat may distort the tracks.

The unseasonable heat continued across much of Japan on Monday with temperatures soaring across Hokkaido and Honshu. Temperatures peaked around 32 C (90 F) in the Tokyo area and reached 33 C (91 F) in Sapporo.

A cold front sweeping across the country will bring a noticeable cooldown and rain to most areas by Tuesday.

Rain will linger across eastern Hokkaido and eastern Honshu on Wednesday as cooler air continues to filter across the country.

High temperatures are forecast to reach 21 C (70 F) in Sapporo on Wednesday, while Tokyo can expect temperatures to peak near 24 C (75-76 F).

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