Heavy snow covered many parts of Japan on Friday, with some western cities seeing record snowfall due to winter pressure patterns taking hold amid a weather agency warning of traffic disruptions, snowstorms and high waves.
The Japan Meteorological Agency said it expects the rough weather to continue through Sunday, mainly in northern Japan and along the Sea of Japan coast, while western Japan could see possible heavy snow as a cold air mass is expected to stay at least through Saturday.
Over 25,000 homes in the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido lost power on Friday, while more than 200 flights were canceled, affecting over 10,000 passengers. Services on more than 150 trains in Hokkaido were also disrupted.
Record snowfall was observed on the western main island of Shikoku, with the city of Kochi registering 14 centimeters of snow and Tokushima 10 cm.
Other western cities, including Okuizumo in Shimane Prefecture, as well as Kitahiroshima and Shobara in Hiroshima Prefecture, saw more than 40 cm of snowfall over a 24-hour period since Thursday.
Meanwhile, Engaru in Hokkaido renewed its record of snowfall for December by registering over 90 cm since Thursday.
The weather agency warned residents of Ishikawa Prefecture in central Japan and Yamagata Prefecture in northeastern Japan in particular that heavy snow may disrupt traffic in their areas.
Ishikawa's prefectural capital, Kanazawa, saw 20 cm of snow by 8 a.m., with some bullet train services briefly disrupted at Kanazawa Station when snow blew against the platform doors.
The weather agency said the strong winter pressure patterns will likely ease from Monday.
It forecasts 90 cm of snowfall in the Hokuriku region in central Japan over 24 hours through 6 p.m. Saturday, with 70 cm in the Hokkaido, Tohoku, Tokai, and Chugoku regions and 60 cm in the Kinki region.