Why did this blizzard bring so much snow?

The frozen source of deep cold, dragged over warmer waters builds a powerful winter storm for Japan

by
    What can lead to one metre of snow falling in one dump?
    What can lead to one metre of snow falling in one dump?

    What can lead to one metre of snow falling in one dump? A huge contrast in temperatures, that’s what. That means winter and water in the same place.

    In Jilin province, a cold part of northern China in any winter, recent temperatures have dropped to minus 21 Celsius. This is a month earlier than you might expect and shows the depth of cold in Siberia and northeast China.

    So when a winter storm starts to spin up and this cold lump is dragged out from the frozen land, the storm is first invigorated by the Songhua River which, surprisingly, doesn’t freeze in the winter.

    Then, like a train without brakes, an already vigorous storm rolls onto the Sea of Japan and is injected with yet more energy from the sea surface. Vast amounts of moisture are lifted into the air, frozen and blown out as snow.

    The rapid deepening of this area of low pressure whips up giant waves. The storm that just hit Japan was the worst for a decade in Hokkaido and waves were recorded of ten metres on Thursday, whilst snow fell at a rate of 80cm in 24 hours.
     
    Roads are still flanked by two metre snow banks but the skies are now clearer. A tidal surge – the dome of lifted sea in the middle of the storm – has caused flooding . Further snow showers are likely in Hokkaido but the storm has gone.

    Snow fell as far south as Nagoya in southern Honshu – not a normal event. The next weather risk in the mountains is avalanche. The thaw may well cause flooding but Hokkaido, at least, remains cold.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.