Snow, stormy weather heads for western, central Japan

Kyodo

An incoming cold air mass is set to unleash stormy weather across Japan, with the western, southwestern and central parts of the country being warned to prepare for heavy snowfall and strong winds, the Meteorological Agency said Saturday.

The severe weather is predicted to last through Monday, with temperatures in the western and southwestern areas expected to fall sharply below seasonal averages, the agency said, warning of traffic disruptions, frozen water pipes and crop damage.

By 6 a.m. Sunday, the Hokuriku and Chugoku regions are forecast to get up to 40 centimeters of snow, with 30 cm falling in the Tohoku, Tokai, Kinki and northern Kyushu regions, and 15 cm to 20 cm in the Kanto-Koshin, Shikoku and southern Kyushu regions.

The Tokyo metropolitan area, which was hit by heavy snow on Monday, is likely to receive about 2 cm of snow.

Weather officials said the situation resembles the one observed between Dec. 31, 2010, and Jan. 1, 2011. At that time, avalanches hit a ski resort in Tottori Prefecture, leaving four people dead. Also, more than 1,000 cars were stranded on snowy roads in Tottori.

A blizzard dropped some 20 cm of snow on Kagoshima Prefecture five years ago.