Season's first ice floes reach northern Japan

NHK -- Jan 26
The season's first ice floes have reached the Okhotsk Sea coast of Japan's northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido.

The municipal office of Mombetsu made the announcement on Tuesday.

It says drift ice had been about six kilometers offshore and moved south. On Tuesday, it merged with what is known as the "shore-fast ice," which is sea ice that is attached to the coastline.

Officials say they were able to visually confirm that most of the ocean's surface under observation was covered with ice.

The phenomenon occurred 13 days earlier than last year and 11 days ahead of the seasonal average.

Mombetsu has been independently observing ice floes since 2008, after a local weather observatory closed.

A man who runs a restaurant near the quay where tourist boats dock said the area should be crowded with foreign visitors, but it has been very quiet this year because of the coronavirus. He said it is too bad there are few people to see the ice floes. - NHK

北海道のオホーツク海沿岸に「冬の使者」流氷が接近している。上空から撮影した24日、網走沖約2キロ付近では、幅約1キロ弱とみられる白銀の流氷帯が、雄大なうろこ模様を海原に広げていた。 - Kyodo