Heavy snow, storm continue on Sea of Japan coast

Weather officials are warning of heavy snow continuing along the Sea of Japan that will quickly accumulate in some areas. They're also forecasting fierce winds in the northern part of the country.

The Meteorological Agency said a developing low pressure system and a winter air pressure pattern over the Japanese archipelago have brought intermittent snow mainly to the Sea of Japan coastal areas.

Agency officials said snow is falling heavily in the mountainous areas, particularly in the Hokuriku region.

A record snowfall of 59 centimeters was observed in Takaoka City, Toyama Prefecture, for 12 hours until Friday morning and 48 centimeters in the prefecture's capital, Toyama City.

By 11 a.m. on Friday, 112 centimeters of snow had piled up in Joetsu City, Niigata Prefecture, 91 centimeters in Aomori City, northern Japan, and 72 centimeters in Toyama City.

Heavy snow is expected to continue until Sunday even in lowlands along the Sea of Japan and mountainous areas on the Pacific coast. People in the Hokuriku region are being warned of heavy, intermittent snow until Saturday, which may accumulate quickly.

Up to 120 centimeters of snow is expected in the mountainous areas of Niigata Prefecture over the 24-hours through Saturday morning. Mountainous areas in the Hokuriku region are expected to see up to 80 centimeters of snow.

The Kinki and Chugoku regions, as well as Gifu Prefecture may see up to 70 centimeters of snow, the Tohoku region up to 60 centimeters, and Hokkaido Prefecture up to 50 centimeters.

Fierce winds are expected to continue in coastal areas of northern Japan. Areas in Hokkaido may be hit by winds of up to around 80 kilometers per hour and the Tohoku region up to about 70 kilometers per hour. High waves are also expected in waters near the areas.

Agency officials are warning people in the affected areas of storms and high waves, as well as possible traffic disruptions. They are also urging caution over avalanches, power outages, falling trees, and accidents while removing snow.