Snowfall intensifies in Hokuriku

Snowfall is intensifying in Japan's Niigata Prefecture and the Hokuriku region on Saturday, as frigid conditions continue to hit parts of the country.

Snow is expected to increase intermittently mainly in areas along the Sea of Japan coast from northern to western Japan through Sunday. Snow accumulation is expected to rise.

Japan's Meteorological Agency says a strong winter pressure pattern and a very strong cold air mass are bringing snow mainly to areas along the Sea of Japan coast.

In the 24 hours through to Sunday evening, up to 100 centimeters of snow is expected in mountainous areas in Niigata Prefecture, up to 80 centimeters in the Hokuriku region, and up to 70 centimeters in Gifu Prefecture.

In the 24 hours from Sunday evening through to Monday evening, up to 60 to 80 centimeters of snow is expected in mountainous areas in Niigata Prefecture, and up to 20 to 40 centimeters in Hokuriku, Tohoku and Gifu Prefecture.

The Meteorological Agency is urging people to be on the alert for possible disruptions to traffic due to snow accumulation and icy roads. It is also warning of possible blackouts caused by avalanches and snow accretion.