• Kyodo

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Heavy snow fell on Thursday across a wide area of Japan’s main island of Honshu, as a low pressure system triggered snow and cold temperatures particularly along the Sea of Japan coast.

The Japan Meteorological Agency called for caution, warning that heavy snow could continue through Saturday, along with strong winds.

Over 1 meter of snowfall fell Thursday in Otari, Nagano Prefecture, while winds up to 22.0 meters per second lashed Tanegashima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan.

Over the 24 hours from 6 p.m. Thursday, snowfall totals were forecast to exceed 80 cm in the worst-hit locations in the Hokuriku region on the Sea of Japan coast, 60 cm in the Kinki region surrounding Osaka, and 50 cm over the remainder of the affected area from the Tohoku region in the northeast to the Chugoku region in western Japan.

Up to an additional 60 cm of snow could fall through Saturday evening, and may build up even at locations at sea level on the Pacific coast, the agency said.

The agency also warned of waves of up to 6 meters, whipped up by strong winds, in the Izu and Ogasawara islands south of Tokyo.

The snow brought the Tokaido Shinkansen line to a crawl along sections between Nagoya and Shin-Osaka, causing delays, operator Central Japan Railway Co. said.

Also train service along stretches of West Japan Railway Co.’s lines in Tottori and Shiga prefectures were stopped at times as snow interfered with signals, strong winds tripped sensors and overhead wiring froze.

Snow forced the closure as well of several expressways in and out of Kyoto, and some domestic flights out of Itami airport in Osaka were cancelled.