More heavy snowfall forecast for regions along Sea of Japan coast

Heavy snow is forecast to continue falling in Japan, particularly in regions along the Sea of Japan coast.

The Meteorological Agency says a winter-type pressure pattern is intensifying as the season's most powerful cold air is flowing into those regions.

Officials say heavy snow is forecast on Thursday on the Sea of Japan coast from northern to western Japan. They say snow is also likely to accumulate on some flatlands of the Chugoku and Kinki regions, which do not usually get much snow.

In the 24 hours through Friday morning, up to 60 centimeters of snowfall is expected in the Tohoku region, 50 centimeters in Hokkaido and the Kanto-Koshinetsu region, and 40 centimeters in the Hokuriku, Kinki and Chugoku regions.

During the 3-hour period through 6 a.m. on Thursday, 21 centimeters of snow fell in the village of Shosanbetsu in Hokkaido. Minakami Town in Gunma Prefecture had 17 centimeters of snowfall, while Ashibetsu in Hokkaido and Hinoemata in Fukushima Prefecture received 14 centimeters. Daisen in Tottori Prefecture recorded 12 centimeters.

Officials are calling on people to be on the alert for traffic disruptions caused by snow accumulation and icy roads. They are warning of high waves and urging caution against avalanches.

The agency is also warning that the weight of snow could cause houses and buildings damaged by the New Year's Day earthquake in central Japan to collapse.

Temperatures dipped below freezing in the quake-hit areas on Thursday morning and are unlikely to rise much, even during the daytime.

Daytime highs are expected to be 3 degrees Celsius in Kanazawa and 2 degrees in Wajima and the city of Toyama.