Fukushima, Niigata prefectures hit by record 24-hour snowfalls

NHK -- Dec 19

Record snowfalls for a 24-hour period have been observed in Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, and Niigata Prefecture, on the Sea of Japan coast.

Weather officials are urging caution for the possible impacts of accumulated snow and icy roads on public transport as well as blackouts and avalanches.

The Meteorological Agency says snow is continuing to fall in the Tohoku and Hokuriku regions.

As of 11 a.m. on Monday, snow on the ground was about 2.3 meters deep in Ohkura Village, Yamagata Prefecture, and more than 1.6 meters deep in Niigata's Uonuma City.

Tadami Town in Fukushima had a record-breaking 110 centimeters of snowfall for a 24-hour period. Nagaoka City in Niigata had 83 centimeters of snowfall in a 24-hour period -- a monthly record for December.

The agency is urging people in Niigata and Fukushima to be on high alert.

Snow is expected to keep falling on the Sea of Japan coast between the country's north and west. In the 24-hour period through Tuesday noon, up to 70 centimeters of snow is forecast in Niigata and 50 centimeters in other parts of Hokuriku and Tohoku.

People are advised to drive carefully and take sufficient measures, including checking traffic information, if they need to travel by car in areas with heavy snow. Drivers face a higher risk of getting stranded in such areas. ...continue reading