More snow expected in northern, eastern Japan

NHK -- Jan 14
Weather officials are warning of more snow from the Hokuriku region to Hokkaido along the Sea of Japan coast.

Japan's Meteorological Agency says a strong winter pressure pattern and a cold air mass have been bringing snowstorms along the Sea of Japan coast. These areas are also being hit by strong winds.

Snow has even accumulated on plains in the Kinki and Tokai regions. The snow is expected to weaken in western Japan, but will likely continue falling over wide areas across Hokuriku through Hokkaido.

In the 24-hour period to Saturday morning, up to 60 centimeters of snow are forecast for Niigata and Gunma prefectures, and up to 50 centimeters for Hokkaido and the Tohoku region as well as Gifu Prefecture.

Up to 40 centimeters are forecast for Nagano Prefecture and up to 30 centimeters in the Hokuriku region.

Strong winds of up to 82 kilometers per hour are forecast in Hokkaido on Friday, with maximum gusts of 126 kilometers per hour.

High waves are expected to continue in Hokkaido and Niigata Prefectures, as well as in the Hokuriku region.

Officials warn that fierce winds could create blinding blizzard conditions and icy roads in these areas, making driving almost impossible. They are also asking residents to stay on the alert for avalanches and possible blackouts due to accumulating snow. People clearing snow from roofs are advised to work in groups of at least two and to take care not to fall.