Continued heavy snow forecast for Japan Sea side

A powerful cold air mass and a typical winter pressure pattern are causing heavy snow to accumulate along the Sea of Japan side, including the Tohoku and Hokuriku regions, and Niigata Prefecture.

The snow is already more than two meters deep in some places. More is expected to continue falling through Sunday.

As of 6 p.m. local time on Friday, there were 213 centimeters of snow in Okura village, Yamagata Prefecture, 182 centimeters in Tokamachi, Niigata Prefecture, and 153 centimeters in Yokote, Akita Prefecture.

Over the past 24 hours, 63 centimeters of snow fell in Yokote, and 58 centimeters in Yuzawa, both in Akita. The respective figures were record highs.
These regions will see more snow through Sunday, settling on lower ground as well as in mountainous areas.

Over the 24 hours to Saturday evening, up to 70 centimeters of snow will fall in Niigata Prefecture, 60 centimeters along the Japan Sea side of Tohoku, and 50 centimeters in Hokuriku and along the Japan Sea side of the northern island of Hokkaido.

Japan's Meteorological Agency is advising people to keep updated on transport routes that could be affected.

It is advising them to be on the alert for snow sliding from rooftops, possible avalanches and blackouts caused by snow piling on trees and overhead electric cables.

The winter pressure pattern is forecast to bring more snow around the country well into the latter half of next week.

More than 90 domestic flights have been canceled so far on Friday. Airlines are advising passengers to check their websites for the latest information.