Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Gosetsu Chitai Dumpage

As we await our next storm on Thursday, we once again look elsewhere for big dumpage.  

Today it is Japan's Gosetsu Chitai, or heavy snow region.  Some huge totals are coming in from the Echigo Mountains of central Honshu.

Below are observations tabulated by the Japanese Meteorological Agency and run through Google Translator.  The big winner is at Fujiwara in Gunma Prefecture with 128 cm (50 inches) in 24 hours, 196 cm (77 inches) in 48 hours, and 203 cm (80 cm) in 72 hours.  

Coming in second for the 48 and 72 hour totals is Tsunan with 149 and 173 cm (59 and 68 inches), respectively.  Tsunan is a long-term observing site at 452 meters above sea level (1483 feet) and 37˚N with a mean annual snowfall of 1349 cm (531 inches).  To put this into perspective, this would be like the Diablo Foothills in the Bay Area getting as much snow as Alta.  

I've identified each of these with thumbnails in the image below.  Sea-effect storms in this region come in two flavors.  Some produce the heaviest snow very near the Sea of Japan.  Others can penetrate inland and dump more precipitation on the mountains.  With such heavy precipitation at Fujiwara, well inland, this is definitely a case of the latter.  

For more on the snows of Japan, see my recent article with Sento Nakai of the Nagaoka Snow and Ice Research Center, which appeared earlier this year in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (available here).  


  1. So are these anomalies coming our way?

    1. There's too much evolution across the Pacific to draw such a connection.

      We're going to get snow tomorrow through Friday. A bird in hand is worth two in the bush. My advice is to get after it.