This winter, Japan has seen masses of snow, most of it in Hokkaido where damaging wind and high seas have also been visitors. Even now Sapporo reports 66cm of snow lying on the ground.

Tokyo however is a different matter. Although the mountains of Honshu are well covered in snow, the lower ground, especially in the southern half of the island has been snow free.

Additionally, all the winter weather, this season, has been brought in across the Sea of Japan by a northwesterly wind, out of the bitterly cold Mongolian Steppe. Tokyo, in being sheltered in the east of Honshu, by the mountains, has enjoyed a quiet winter.

Friday morning was forecast to be white and was white. This time, a small winter storm was travelling up the eastern side of the islands so Tokyo was right in line. Small implies not very active and this proved to be the case.

While snowfall is not rare in Tokyo, significant accumulations are uncommon. Many people remember February 2014 when two separate storms brought more than 25 cm of snow to the area.

Admittedly this has not been a big deal with only 2cm actually lying on the ground in the morning. The temperature slowly rose during the day and rain fell, rather than snow, by the evening as the thermometer registered 2.5C.

No immediate repeat performance is forecast but that small storm looks like building into a much more violent affair as it approaches Hokkaido’s eastern side.

Source: Al Jazeera