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Brutal cold weather impacting Japan with remarkable sea-effect snow, extremely strong winds and temperatures seen once in 10 years expected

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Brutal cold weather is impacting Japan on Tuesday, January 24, 2023, bringing remarkable sea-effect snow. Recorded strong winds and temperatures seen only once in 10 years are expected on January 25. The weather is causing flights to be canceled and traffic disruptions due to frozen roads.

As the strong winter patterns are expected to take hold through Thursday, some parts of the country could see their lowest temperatures in a decade, leading to a possibility of snowfall in Tokyo and Osaka, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said.

From the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido to the southwestern Kyushu region, cities are forecast to see subzero temperatures Wednesday morning, raising fears of frozen water pipes and icy road surfaces. JMA has said temperatures are expected to drop significantly to levels seen only once in 10 years.

The cold weather is also causing travel disruptions, with Japan Airlines Co. and All Nippon Airways Co. canceling more than 200 flights on Tuesday, impacting more than 8 000 people, with some cancellations also slated for Wednesday. Additionally, the Sanyo Shinkansen suspended service between Shin-Osaka and Okayama on Tuesday night due to a snow-related technical problem and the Yamagata Shinkansen plans to suspend service between Fukushima and Shinjo on Wednesday.

In Kami Nagata, Maniwa City, a remarkable 41 cm (16.14 inches) of snowfall was observed during the six hours until 19:00 LT on January 24, according to the JMA.

In just six hours to 20:00 LT, 31 cm (12.2 inches) of snow was observed in Tsuyama and 28 cm (11 inches) in Imaoka, Mimasaka City.

JMA said strong snow is expected to continue into the morning of January 25. In the Tsuyama, Katsuhide, and Maniwa areas, there is a growing risk of serious traffic disruptions due to heavy snowfall.

The cold weather event is expected to continue throughout the week, with the Hokuriku region in central Japan seeing up to 90 cm (35.4 inches) of snowfall in the 24 hours through 18:00 LT on Wednesday, while the Tohoku region in the northeast could see up to 80 cm (31.5 inches) of snow. Up to 70 cm (27.6 inches) of snow is expected in the Kanto-Koshin region of eastern and central Japan, and the Kinki and Chugoku regions in western Japan, the agency said. Winds could reach up to 126 km/h (78.3 mph) in areas across the country, it said.

The Japan Meteorological Agency is urging people to take precautions, as the cold weather can be dangerous for those who are not prepared. They recommend staying warm, avoiding prolonged exposure to the cold and keeping an eye on local weather forecasts for the latest information.

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Image credit: JMA/Himawari-9, RAMMB/CIRA, The Watchers. Acquired at 03:00 UTC on January 24, 2023

References:

1 Japan braces for heavy snow, warns of traffic disruption – The Mainichi – January 24, 2023

2 JMA – Disaster prevention information – January 24, 2023

Featured image credit: JMA/Himawari-9, RAMMB/CIRA, The Watchers. Acquired at 02:30 UTC on January 24, 2023

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