Parts of northern Japan are experiencing are rare heavy snowfall and strong winds for mid-March.
The Japan Meteorological Agency said that Friday—which was Spring Equinox Day—saw record snowfall of 115 centimeters for March in Nemuro, Hokkaido, with more snow forecast for Saturday, TBS reported.
Coinciding with the three-day holiday weekend, a low pressure system moved in, bringing the unseasonably cold and unstable weather to Hokkaido, Aomori, Niigata and Nagano prefectures. Hachinohe in Aomori saw 40 cms of snow.
In the Hokkaido town of Teshikaga, weather monitors recorded wind speeds of 30.2 meters, TBS reported. Eight cities and towns across Hokkaido lost power and citizens were forced to stay in emergency shelters Friday night.
Police said that in Nagano Prefecture, a 70-year-old man from Chiba, who was among a group of five skiers, died after they were caught in a sudden avalanche and died.
The Meteorological Agency forecast that the heavy snowfall is likely to continue throughout Saturday.