• Kyodo News


The Meteorological Agency warned Saturday of disruptions to traffic and high waves as it forecast strong winds and heavy snow across wide areas through Monday, particularly along the Sea of Japan coast, due to a strong cold air mass and low pressure system.

Strong winds of between 50 and 70 kph are expected on land from northern Japan to Okinawa Prefecture through Sunday, with gusts of up to around 70 to 90 kph likely at sea, the agency said, adding there may be 6-meter waves in some areas.

Heavy snow is expected on the Sea of Japan side, while some snowfall is also expected on the plains on the Pacific side, the agency said.

A low atmospheric pressure pattern is expected to develop in the Sea of Japan, bringing a strong cold air mass and a strong wintry pressure pattern, and move toward the Tokai region, it said.

By Sunday evening, about 1 meter of snow is expected to have fallen in parts of the Hokuriku region on the Sea of Japan side, 80 cm in the Chugoku region and 60 cm in the Kinki region, Kanto and nearby areas.

In addition, around 50 cm of snow is likely to fall in Hokkaido and the Tohoku and Tokai regions, as well as about 20 cm in northern Kyushu and Shikoku.

The agency’s warning came as high school students nationwide braved the cold to take the annual unified college entrance exams.

On Saturday, the first day of the two-day exams, 11 students nationwide didn’t make it to the exams on time due to disruption to the rail network, but were allowed to take the tests later in the day.

In Takayama, Gifu Prefecture, meanwhile, three students managed to reach their exam venue even after a collision between a car and the commuter bus they were aboard, local police said.

No one was hurt in the crash, which occurred at 7:20 a.m. on a snowy road, the police said.

The three students were stranded following the crash, but a driver pulled over to give them a ride and they reached the exam venue in time, the police said.

This year, more than 558,984 people applied, up 5,616 from the previous year.

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