Deep freeze: Winter saw record snow, below-average cold

Kyodo

The Meteorological Agency said this winter has seen snow accumulations hit all-time highs or equalled past records at 21 observation points nationwide, with below-average temperatures in almost all regions during the three months through February.

The report summarizing weather conditions from December to February, released Thursday, showed that 17 points where new record-high figures were set included the town of Daisen, Tottori Prefecture, facing the Sea of Japan, which saw snow accumulation of more than 3 meters for the first time.

It was the first time in 26 years temperatures remained below average throughout the three winter months in eastern to central Japan and western to southwestern Japan, and the first time in northern and northeastern Japan in 11 years.

Temperatures were at normal levels in Okinawa and on islands in southern Kagoshima Prefecture.

The agency attributed the severe cold to the La Nina phenomenon, which brought cold air to Japan from the north as well as the massive Siberian cold air masses that expanded this winter.

The Fire and Disaster Management Agency said 115 people had died nationwide due to snow-related accidents since November.