TOKYO, Dec. 29 (Xinhua) -- The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) warned on Tuesday that heavy snow is forecast over wide swathes of Japan centering on regions along the Sea of Japan during the year-end and New Year holidays.
According to the JMA, a powerful cold pressure system will bring heavy snow all along the Sea of Japan coast, from Hokkaido in the north to Kyushu in the south, between Wednesday and Saturday.
Japan's largest main island of Honshu will likely experience snowfall of up to 100 cm in the 24 hours through 6 p.m, while winds of up to 126 km per hour are expected for western and southwestern Japan. The Kinki and Chugoku regions, meanwhile, could see as much as 70 cm of snow, the agency said.
Later in the week, regions facing the Sea of Japan could see a recurrence of snowfall owing to a low pressure system moving on an eastward trajectory over the country and bringing with it a cold air mass, the JMA said, adding that parts of Shikoku and Kyushu could also also see snow.
The JMA has said that during a five-day period from Wednesday, regions along the Sea of Japan could see more than twice the amount of average snowfall.
The agency has urged people to be on alert for snow falling from roofs, falling trees, as well as power outages.
Water pipes could unexpectedly freeze, the JMA said, with the agency calling on people to, by Tuesday, finish preparing for heavy snow and check the agency's website for real-time information.
Along with Japan's Transport Ministry, the agency a day earlier issued a joint emergency announcement warning that vehicles could get stranded.
The announcement urged drivers to refrain from making non-essential outings, and to make sure that their vehicles are equipped with winter tires or snow chains.
Depending on weather conditions, the emergency announcement said that snow chains may become mandatory on some expressways and national routes.
The agency said the cold air mass approaching this week would likely be more powerful than the one which brought heavy snow to central Japan earlier this month and left hundreds of vehicles stranded on an expressway in Niigata Prefecture.