A powerful frigid air mass is bringing heavy snow to wide areas of Japan along the Sea of Japan coast. More snow is expected in some regions through New Year's Day.
The Meteorological Agency says heavy snow is falling along the Japan Sea side from the northern prefecture of Hokkaido to the western region of Chugoku.
The snow has passed its peak in Chugoku and Kyushu. But it is getting heavier along the Japan Sea side of the Tohoku and Hokuriku regions.
Snow has accumulated in mountainous areas and on lower ground. At 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, there were 61 centimeters of snow in Joetsu City, Niigata Prefecture, and 28 centimeters in Maizuru City, Kyoto Prefecture.
The snow will continue on Friday and beyond. More snow will accumulate on the plains as well.
Over the 24 hours to Friday evening, up to 100 centimeters of snow will fall in Niigata Prefecture, 80 centimeters along the Japan Sea side of the Tohoku region, and 70 centimeters in the Hokuriku and Kinki regions.
The Meteorological Agency is advising people to stay updated on transportation that could be affected by the snow. It is also advising people to watch out for snow sliding off roofs, for avalanches, and for blackouts caused by snow on trees and overhead cables.
People clearing snow from roofs are advised to work in groups of at least two and to take care not to fall.