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Cold air above Japanese archipelago brings heavy snow to Sea of Japan coast

A pedestrian walks on a snow-covered sidewalk in Niigata's Chuo Ward on Jan. 12, 2018. (Mainichi)

Extremely cold air brought by a high pressure system in the west and a low pressure system in the east brought heavy snow to wide areas of Honshu's Sea of Japan coast from Jan. 11 to 12.

The strong winter atmospheric pattern, including a minus 33 degree Celsius air mass parked some 5,000 meters above the Hokuriku region, will likely continue for the time being, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA). The pattern is feared to bring heavy snow to mainly western to northern Japan along the Sea of Japan coast, and the JMA has warned of possible avalanches and transportation disruptions in these areas.

According to the JMA's Osaka Regional Headquarters, winds blowing from the continent toward the Japanese archipelago split into two above mountainous areas on the northern Korean Peninsula and joined again above the Sea of Japan. This created a so-called convergence zone that reached areas above Fukui Prefecture, causing particularly heavy snow in Fukui and Ishikawa prefectures.

Other areas with heavy snowfall include Niigata and Toyama prefectures and the Sanin region in western Japan along the Sea of Japan coast.

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