Blizzard conditions persist across Japan today as the sea effect snow pattern continues to dominate the weather setup. Nearly a Meter of snow is expected to fall just through Friday on top of the snow base that has already accumulated through the past several days.
The largest snow base via JMA is in Aomori where up to 237cm of snow is on the ground. Yet some ski resorts in Hokkaido are reporting nearly 300cm.
Just through the past 24hrs some areas have picked up 60cm plus of fresh snowfall. Of course this has made for some amazing powder conditions for those fortunate enough to be on the slopes mid-week it has also resulted in dangerous avalanche conditions and travel weather.
Pretty much all south facing exposed slopes in central Honshu are under a moderate to considerable risk of Avalanche following this weeks heavy loading from the fresh snow. Unless you are going somewhere you know very well or staying on moderate slopes I would recommended not heading in to the back country anytime soon.
— 日本雪崩ネットワーク (@npo_jan) January 11, 2017
The snow has already taken its first victims this week, in Kagura two snowboarders went missing in the back country on Wednesday. Good news they filed the proper paper work before heading out back and people knew where they were going, but still they have now been missing for over 24hrs while blizzard conditions continue to dominate. You can follow the story here for updated information. (IN JAPANESE) http://www3.nhk.or.jp/lnews/niigata/
This same weather pattern will continue to dominate heading in to the weekend with even colder temperatures surging in out of Siberia. Heading from Thursday in to Friday below average temperatures will surge across Japan dropping the mercury even in Tokyo below the freezing point. Do remember it will stay dry in Tokyo since all the snow is getting dumped in the mountains.
The cold air will be with the same north west wind pattern at least through the weekend and in to Monday and Tuesday of next week. This means each day depending on local effects and the exact wind pattern of the day much of Hokoriku and Tohoku will have the potential to see up to 50cm or more daily.
The tight pressure gradient will also keep the winds high too keep in mind. Winds could be gusting over 40kph on mountain peaks and wind chills will well below zero.
At Nozawa Onsen where the world famous fire festival is taking place this week temperatures will drop to around -10 to -15 during wind gust, especially after the sun sets. Do bundle up!