Japan weather agency: La Nina likely remains

Weather officials in Japan say the La Nina phenomenon appears to be continuing. They warn that it could bring heavy snow in the country through next month.

La Nina refers to lower-than-usual sea surface temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean off Peru. The phenomenon is believed to affect weather around the world.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said on Wednesday that the sea surface temperatures remained low last month, indicating the La Nina phenomenon that began in autumn 2021 is continuing.

Officials said La Nina causes the prevailing westerly winds over Japan to meander, and that tends to lead to lower temperatures in the country.

The officials forecast that the La Nina phenomenon will likely come to an end around the end of winter. But they added the effects of La Nina are expected to remain around Japan.

The weather officials warn that Japan may have heavy snow, especially on the Sea of Japan side, through February.

They added that there may also be periods of higher temperatures, depending on the shape of the westerlies' meandering. They call on people to be on alert for possible avalanches, as well.

Umeda Takafumi at the Meteorological Agency said officials want people to check the latest weather information, and work to clear away snow should not be carried out alone by anyone.