Winds cause massive blackouts in Niigata, Akita

Powerful winds from snowstorms have cut power to more than 100,000 homes in the Japanese prefectures of Niigata and Akita.

The city of Niigata along the Sea of Japan coast recorded gusts of up to 130 kilometers per hour on Thursday.

Tohoku Electric Power Network says about 57,400 homes in Niigata Prefecture were without electricity as of 8 p.m. on Thursday. They included over 31,000 homes in Niigata City.

The utility says upward of 55,900 homes in 11 municipalities mainly along the Sea of Japan coast in Akita Prefecture remained without electricity as of 2:50 a.m. on Friday. They included around 36,900 homes in Akita City.

The company says strong winds likely severed cables and are hampering recovery efforts. Officials say they do not expect to be able to completely restore power overnight.

Heavy winds have also injured at least 13 people in Niigata Prefecture. Gusts overturned five trucks, with one driver suffering a minor injury.