• Kyodo News


A cold air mass and hovering winter pressure pattern sent temperatures plunging to record lows in several parts of the nation on Sunday, prompting the Meteorological Agency to issue a flurry of weather warnings.

The weather agency warned that strong winds, heavy snow and high waves would continue to pose hazards through Monday in several areas, particularly along the Sea of Japan coast.

West Japan Railway Co. (JR West) said it canceled five overnight trains between Osaka and Aomori and between Niigata and Sapporo because of winds and heavy snow.

Temperatures in Shikoku dropped to as low as minus 8.9 degrees in the town of Motoyama, Kochi Prefecture, while the mercury sank to minus 7.8 in Tsushima, Nagasaki Prefecture, minus 5.8 in Ube, Yamaguchi Prefecture, and minus 4.5 in Kobayashi, Miyazaki Prefecture — all marking new all-time lows.

Hirakawa in Aomori Prefecture also tied its record low at minus 15.6, while temperatures fell to a comparatively temperate 1.1 in metropolitan Tokyo.

Meanwhile, snow drifts surpassed 3 meters at Sukayu hot spring in the city of Aomori, while snowfall exceeding 2 meters was observed in some areas of Yamagata, Niigata and Tottori prefectures.

In the town of Kitahiroshima, Hiroshima Prefecture, a record 192 cm of snow had been recorded as of 8 a.m. Sunday.

The weather agency warned that more heavy snow was in store — particularly along Sea of Japan coast — as the cold air mass continues to pass through the coastal regions and chill northern Japan.

The Hokuriku region alone was expected to receive 90 cm of snow by 6 a.m. Monday, while 80 cm was expected in the Tohoku, and 60 cm in the Kanto-Koshin, Tokai, Kinki and Chugoku regions of western Japan.

Strong winds stirred up 6-meter waves in some areas on the Sea of Japan coast, the agency said.

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