Japan socked by another snow storm

Jan. 16, 2011 at 2:02 AM

NIIGATA, Japan, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- Japan is being whacked by another winter storm this weekend, with up to 39 inches of snow expected by Sunday evening, meteorologists predicted.

The Meteorological Agency said the snow would be whipped over land by 31-44 mph winds all the way from northern Japan to Okinawa prefecture, Kyodo News reported. The forecasters said winds would likely gust to up to 56 mph over the Sea of Japan, producing waves nearly 20 feet high in some areas.

The heaviest snowfall was expected on the Sea of Japan side of the nation, Kyodo said.

By nightfall, about 39 inches of snow is expected in parts of the Hokuriku region, with 31.5 inches in the Chugoku region and 23.62 inches in the Kinki region, Kanto and vicinity.

Hokkaido and the Tohoku and Tokai regions were expected to have nearly 20 inches dumped on them, with about 8 inches in northern Kyushu and Shikoku, forecasters said.

The storm came as nearly 559,000 Japanese high school students nationwide are taking the annual, two-day, unified college entrance exams.

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