Snowstorms expected in regions near the Japan Sea

NHK -- Feb 17
Weather officials in Japan are warning that snowstorms will likely batter areas of the country facing the Japan Sea on Wednesday. They are calling on people to be on the alert against possible traffic disruptions.

The Meteorological Agency says a developed low pressure system and a strong winter pressure pattern have brought increasingly strong winds mainly to the coastal areas, and heavy snowstorms to parts of Hokkaido.

Snowfalls are intensifying mainly along the Sea of Japan coast. Parts of Niigata and Yamagata prefectures received more than 20 centimeters of snow during a six-hour period up to 6 a.m. on Wednesday.

Powerful winds and snow are expected later in the day, mainly along the Sea of Japan from Hokkaido through Kyushu.

Weather officials are warning of "whiteout" conditions with no visibility in northern Japan. They say blizzards and drifts could be produced.

High waves and rough sea conditions are also expected in the waters near the Hokkaido, Tohoku, and Hokuriku regions.

A strong cold mass of air that is flowing in is expected to cause snowstorms to intensify intermittently through Thursday along the Sea of Japan coast from Hokkaido through Kyushu. Snow may accumulate even in the lowlands in western Japan.

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