TOKYO: Heavy snow hit Sea of Japan areas in the Tohoku northeastern to Chugoku western regions of Japan on Sunday, affecting railway and aviation services and road traffic.
The severe winter weather is expected to continue until Tuesday, the Japan Meteorological Agency said, issuing warnings against snowstorms, violent winds and high waves. The transport ministry is urging people in affected areas to refrain from nonessential outings and use snow chains for automobiles.
The rough weather forced train services to be canceled on some sections of such Japan Railways Group lines as the Joetsu Line, the Oito Line and the Sanin Main Line, and caused delays in services on the Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen bullet train lines.
A total of 130 domestic flights of Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways were canceled while parts of the Akita Expressway, the Tohoku Expressway and the Meishin Expressway were closed to traffic.
The town of Chizu in the western prefecture of Tottori had snowfall of 43 centimeters in the six hours to 10 p.m. Sunday (1 p.m. GMT), prompting the meteorological agency to issue very heavy snow information.
Snowfall in the 24 hours to 9 p.m. totaled 73 centimeters in the town of Minakami in the eastern prefecture of Gunma, 69 centimeters in the town of Daisen in Tottori and 65 centimeters in the town of Kami in the western prefecture of Hyogo.
Areas with a surge in snowfall are warned of avalanches.
Twenty-four hour snowfall until 6 p.m. Monday is forecast to reach up to 90 centimeters in the Hokuriku central region and the Kinki western region, up to 60 centimeters in Tohoku, Chugoku, the Kanto-Koshin eastern to central region and the Tokai central region, up to 20 centimeters in the Shikoku western region and the northern part of the Kyushu southwestern region, and up to 10 centimeters in southern Kyushu.
In the following 24 hours until 6 p.m. Tuesday, snowfall is forecast at 50-70 centimeters in Tohoku and Kanto-Koshin, 40-60 centimeters in Hokuriku and Tokai, 30-50 centimeters in Kinki and 20-40 centimeters in Chugoku.