Season’s coldest front hits western Japan

The season’s coldest weather front brought heavy snow to mountainous areas of western Japan on Jan. 8, disrupting travel by road, rail, ferry and air.The Meteorological Agency said the cold air mass was 35 degrees below zero. It is located about 5,400 meters above the Korean Peninsula, was moving south, the agency said.Between 30 cm and 50 cm of snow was expected in the Chugoku, northern Kansai and Hokuriku regions by the end of Jan. 8, the agency said, forecasting about 20 cm to 30 cm of snow in mountainous areas of Shikoku and northern Kyushu.The agency said 12 cm of snow fell in Amagi, Fukuoka Prefecture, 10 cm in Mount Aso in Kumamoto Prefecture and 8 cm in Hita, Oita Prefecture, early Jan. 8. Bad weather prompted the closure of some sections of expressways.Highway authorities said the entire Kitakyushu Toshi Expressway was closed, while the Kyushu Expressway was closed between the Beppu and Nagasaki Tarami exits and the Moji and Yahata exits. Other arteries that were partially closed included the Chugoku, Tokushima and Matsuyama expressways.JR West canceled 21 runs on the Sanyo Shinkansen Line, and bullet trains slowed between Ogori station in Fukuoka Prefecture and Shin-Shimonoseki station in Yamaguchi Prefecture, officials said. JR Kyushu officials said the railway temporarily suspended operations on the Hitahikosan, Chikoho, Sasebo, Omura and other lines.All ferry services from Fukuoka port were canceled, while Nagasaki Airport was closed in the morning. In Saga Prefecture, more than 10 elementary and high schools canceled classes.