Sea of Japan coast braces for winter storm

Violent snowstorms have been hitting coastal areas along the Sea of Japan. There are warnings of avalanches and blizzards.

The Meteorological Agency said on Thursday that winds are becoming stronger nationwide. A rapidly developing low pressure system and weather front are to blame.

Wind gusts of around 100 kilometers per hour were recorded at Tottori airport in Tottori Prefecture in western Japan on Thursday morning.

Further north, Yokote City in Akita Prefecture has seen record snowfall. As of 11 a.m. on Thursday, 151 centimeters of snow had accumulated and there were reports of power outages.

The snowfall has been deadly in places, with around 30 people known to have died while shoveling snow since December 15th.

A total of 546 domestic flights have been cancelled on Thursday and Friday.

Weather officials say a winter pressure pattern will strengthen bringing heavy snow until around Sunday, affecting areas along the Sea of Japan coast and mountainous areas on the Pacific coast.

People are advised to refrain from non-essential outings.