Record snowless winter in Japan
NHK -- Jan 16
Wide areas along the Sea of Japan coast are experiencing a winter with record-low amounts of snow.

The Meteorological Agency says snowfall is at its lowest level since 1961, when the earliest available records were kept.

Agency officials say that snowfall in December was only zero to 47 percent of the average in various spots along coastal areas.

They also say the snowless condition have continued until now. The amount of snow was zero to 28 percent of the average so far in January.

The agency explains that westerly winds are blowing over northern Japan, blocking a cold air mass from moving south. It forecasts the snowless situation will continue for one month.

No snow accumulation was recorded on Wednesday morning in the city of Yamagata, northeastern Japan, where snow normally lays about 20 centimeters deep at this time of year.

Organizers of a snow festival in the area scheduled to start in two weeks' time say they are worried if they can hold the event as planned. They asked a Shinto priest to pray for snow on Tuesday.

Hiroki Sato, who serves as the head of the festival organizing committee, said they had no choice but to ask God for help.

News source: NHK
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