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Frigid temperatures send folks scurrying for heaters

Date Posted: 2005-12-22

Okinawans found themselves under siege from unseasonably cold temperatures this past weekend.

That dilemma sent many racing to stores across the islands to buy up portable heaters. Many found themselves without, as stores quickly sold out their supplies.

Northern Okinawa communities encountered 9.1C (48F) temperatures, while outer islands were suffering at 10C, five degrees lower than the December average. Naha City, Urasoe, Okinawa City and Ginowan all found themselves locked in at 11~12C readings. By comparison, Miyako Jima was a balmy 16.5C and Ishigaki 17C (60F).

The colder weather has passed, and forecasters say it will remain temperate until January, when temperatures again drop. High winds added to the bluster and a sense of added cold. Government weather forecasters say this winter started out to be very warm, but now say they’re modifying the predictions. The weather is “messed up”, says one. “Something is wrong with the earth” he said, noting that Nagoya had snow last weekend, something that’s never happened so early in the year.

He also noted it’s been 53 years since it happened, but says Okinawa can get snow.

Business owners say they never have enough heaters to meet sudden demand, noting that Okinawans never make plans for shopping ahead. They wait until the weather’s already super cold, then rush out expecting every store to have everything they need. He noted, though, that more heaters are being brought in as they anticipate a January cold snap.

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