Japanese weather officials say snow is intensifying along the Sea of Japan coast. They are warning of possible transportation disruptions during the year-end holiday season.
The Meteorological Agency says heavy snow is expected in mountainous areas in eastern and western Japan in the coming days. It adds snow may accumulate on the ground in some parts of the Tokai and Kansai regions.
Expected accumulations during the 24 hours through Friday evening are up to 80 centimeters in Niigata Prefecture, 70 centimeters in the Tohoku, Hokuriku, and Kanto-Koshin regions, and 50 centimeters in the Tokai region and Hokkaido.
The agency officials say a strong winter pressure pattern will continue until around Sunday. It may bring heavy snow to many areas.
Blizzards are also expected, mainly in areas along the Sea of Japan coast in northern Japan and the Hokuriku region.
Maximum wind speeds of 72 kilometers per hour are projected for Hokkaido and the Hokuriku region, and 65 kilometers per hour for the Tohoku region, with occasional gusts of up to 108 kilometers per hour.
The officials are urging people to prepare for snowstorms, high waves, and disruptions to transportation caused by snow and blizzard conditions.
They say people should watch out for snow that has piled up on overhead power lines and tree branches, and also be alert for possible avalanches.