Heavy snow continues on Sea of Japan coast

Weather officials say heavy snow will continue falling through Monday in coastal areas along the Sea of Japan.

The Meteorological Agency says a strong winter pressure pattern and a mass of extremely cold air have dumped a large amount of snow, mainly in the Hokuriku region and Niigata Prefecture.

As of 5 a.m. on Monday, 120 centimeters of snowfall had been recorded in Toyama City, 100 centimeters in Fukui City, and 63 centimeters in Niigata City.

The amount of accumulated snow was more than double the average amount for this time of the year at most observation points in the prefectures of Niigata, Toyama, Ishikawa and Fukui.

The Meteorological Agency is calling on people not to go out, unless necessary.

The agency has also advised them to be careful of icy roads and disruptions to transport and traffic.

They should also vigilant against avalanches, snow falling from roofs, and power outages caused by snow building up on power lines.

The snow has also caused accidents.

As of Sunday night, eight people have died in Niigata, Toyama, Ishikawa, Fukui and Gifu Prefectures. Over 270 people have been injured.

Many of those who died or were injured are believed to have been removing snow.

Demand for electricity is rising amid the bitter cold. Electric power companies are calling on businesses and households to use electricity efficiently.