Stormy weather, heavy snow likely in Japan

The Meteorological Agency expects heavy snow and strong winds to hit wide areas along the Sea of Japan coast from Wednesday through Friday. Snow is also forecast in flat areas along the Pacific coast.

The agency says a very powerful cold air mass will bring heavy snow along the Sea of Japan coast from Hokkaido to Kyushu.

Weather officials say that during a period of 24 hours from Wednesday evening, up to 70 to 100 centimeters of snowfall is expected in Niigata Prefecture, and 60 to 80 centimeters in other areas of the Hokuriku region. The western regions surrounding Osaka and Hiroshima prefectures are expected to have 50 to 70 centimeters of snow.

Expressway companies are calling on drivers to make sure that their vehicles are equipped with winter tires or snow chains. The firms are also advising them to watch snowfall data and check if expressways are open.