Heavy snowfall covers large areas of Japan
Heavy snowfall rocked large swaths of Japan, with some regions seeing record accumulations. Weather officials warn of possible disruptions to the transportation system and snow-related accidents.
The Japan Meteorological Agency says a winter pressure pattern and a cold air mass have brought snow to places along the Sea of Japan and elsewhere.
Total rainfall for 24 hours reached 62 centimeters until 6 a.m. Sunday in Maibara city in western Shiga prefecture, and 60 centimeters until 2 p.m. in Sapporo city in northern Hokkaido prefecture. .
Both figures are the highest since comparable data became available in 2001 for Maibara and 1999 for Sapporo.
The meteorological agency warns that more snow could fall until Monday morning in neighboring Shiga and Gifu prefectures.
The traditionally snowy mountainous regions of Niigata and Nagano prefectures in central Japan also received heavier than usual snowfall.
The total accumulation through 7 p.m. Sunday climbed to 3.54 meters in Tsunan City in Niigata and 2.71 meters in Nozawaonsen Village in Nagano. These two numbers are the highest for municipalities in recent years.
People in snowy areas should be on the lookout for potential power outages, avalanches, and other snow-related accidents.
Many parts of Japan received above-average amounts of snowfall this winter. Some people have died while clearing snow.
People should stay away from the eaves of buildings even if the snow is easing. They must also form groups of two or more people and take strict safety measures when carrying out snow removal work.
Meanwhile, due to a low pressure system, places along the Pacific Ocean in eastern Japan, including the greater Tokyo area, could experience snowfall around Thursday.