Heavy snow fell in and around the mountains along the Sea of Japan coast Friday, prompting the Meteorological Agency to warn of even larger accumulations today.

A minus 36 C Siberian air mass was to hit a wider area of Japan from Friday night through today, the agency said.

By this morning, the mountainous regions of central and western Japan on the Sea of Japan Coast are expected to receive between 70 cm and 1 meter of snow, the agency said.

Northern Honshu and mountain areas facing the Sea of Japan are forecast to receive 50-70 cm of snow, while Hokkaido and northern Kanto are expected to see snowfall of 30-50 cm.

During the 24-hour span until 6 p.m. Friday, Niigata had received 76 cm of snow, while Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture, had received 66 cm, the agency said. The city of Toyama saw 37 cm.

Due to the heavy snowfall, 29 domestic flights on two airlines, mainly bound for cities in the Tohoku and Hokuriku regions, were canceled or were scheduled for cancellation as of 6 p.m. Friday, according to the carriers.

JR Tokaido and Sanyo bullet trains slowed Friday morning between Nagoya and Shin-Osaka due to the heavy snow, delaying some 26,000 passengers, according to the railway. However, Sanyo bullet train services almost returned to normal by Friday evening, according to JR West. Bullet trains on other lines ran almost normally.

Traffic on roads in Toyama, Niigata and Akita prefectures were considerably disrupted.

On the Hokuriku expressway, three people were slightly injured Friday in a collision involving 14 vehicles in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, where heavy snow had fallen, police said.

The pileup, which included a highway bus and a truck, occurred near the Yanagase Tunnel probably because of slippery road conditions, police said.

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