(CNN) - Rescuers fanned out across northern Japan on Monday, in efforts coordinated and improvised, attempting to reach untold numbers of people still stranded after a massive earthquake and tsunami shattered the region.
A sense of urgency prevailed among responders as a third frigid night fell upon the survivors of Saturday's 8.9-magnitude quake, the most powerful measured seismic event in Japan's history.
Weather forecasts called for continued temperatures barely above freezing, as well as rain and freezing precipitation that could trigger mudslides. Continued subnormal cold also will probably strain power generation in a country already employing rolling blackouts as a conservation measure.
In areas cut off from the outside world by the disaster, more than 450,000 people whose homes are lost or inaccessible were staying in shelters, according to NHK, Japan's national broadcasting company.
Many survivors set out on their own in search of friends and loved ones.
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