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Weather agency warns of heavy snow in wide areas of northern Japan

The Japan Meteorological Agency is seen in Tokyo's Minato Ward. (Mainichi/Shinji Kurokawa)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan's weather agency on Tuesday warned of heavy snowfall across wide areas of northern Japan due to a strong winter pressure pattern, urging residents to pay heed to gales and snowstorms that could cause traffic disruptions.

    Accumulated snow, icy roads, avalanches and snow accretion are also expected in the Hokkaido, Tohoku and Hokuriku regions, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

    Because of the bad weather, East Japan Railway suspended some of its shinkansen bullet train services in Miyagi, Iwate and Akita prefectures in the Tohoku region, among some other areas.

    Hokkaido, the country's northernmost main island, and Hokuriku, a region of central Japan, are forecast to see a maximum wind speed of 126 kilometers per hour, while Tohoku will likely have a maximum wind speed of 108 kph, the agency said.

    In the 24 hours through 6 a.m. Wednesday, parts of the Hokuriku, Tohoku and Hokkaido regions are expected to record snowfall of up to 50 centimeters, 40 cm and 30 cm, respectively, it also said.

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