"Is it really February?"

It was so warm in Tokyo on the 20th that it made you doubt the season.

This season is said to be a warmer winter, which is having a widespread impact on ski resorts, agricultural crops, and winter traditions.

There are some areas where the amount of snowfall is significantly lower than in normal years, but experts are urging people to be on guard against avalanches even with little snow.

table of contents

  • With unprecedented warmth

  • Even in February, ``I want to eat ice cream.''

  • “Zero snowfall” in various places

  • Not enough snow.. Ski resorts “national sports” are also struggling

  • Spinach grows quickly, ``there is almost no profit''

  • Be wary of avalanches “even if there is little snow”

Open table of contents

table of contents

table of contents

  • With unprecedented warmth

  • Even in February, ``I want to eat ice cream.''

  • “Zero snowfall” in various places

  • Not enough snow.. Ski resorts “national sports” are also struggling

  • Spinach grows quickly, ``there is almost no profit''

  • Be wary of avalanches “even if there is little snow”

With unprecedented warmth

Fujikawa Tenjin is a shrine in Satsumasendai City, Kagoshima Prefecture, which is known as a famous spot for plum blossoms.

Due to the many warm days this winter, the Garyu plum tree, which is designated as a national natural monument, began blooming around the 10th of this month, about two weeks earlier than usual, and is now almost in full bloom.

A man who comes every year said, ``When I walk past the plum grove, I can smell the plum blossoms and it's very nice.''

Even in February, ``I want to eat ice cream.''

It was so warm in Tokyo on the 20th that it was hard to believe it was February.

At an ice cream shop in Shibuya Ward, customers were seen buying ice cream right after the store opened. In February, sales are 1.5 to 2 times higher than usual, especially on sunny days with high temperatures.

A pair of high school seniors who came sightseeing from Iwate Prefecture said, ``It was hot when we arrived in Tokyo, so we stopped by a store and said, ``I want to eat ice cream.'' It's hotter than I expected, so I want to enjoy it while also taking care of my health.'' We were talking.

A clerk at the Cold Stone Creamery Harajuku branch said, ``Crepes tend to sell best during the cold season, but ice cream is selling well this year.We take into consideration the amount of preparation and make sure that our customers can enjoy it every day.'' I want to make adjustments," he said.

“Zero snowfall” in various places

This is a diagram showing the depth of snowfall as of noon on the 20th. A wide range of areas from southern Hokkaido and Tohoku to the Sea of ​​Japan side of the Chugoku region are experiencing ``dark blue,'' which is 40% less than normal.

In many cases, it is less than 20%, and even in areas that normally get a lot of snow, there are some places where snowfall is "zero."

There is no snow in Hakodate City and Aomori City in Hokkaido, Kakunodate in Semboku City in Akita Prefecture, and Nagaoka City in Niigata Prefecture, as well as Mogami Town in Yamagata Prefecture and Joetsu City in Niigata Prefecture, where the average snow depth is more than 50 centimeters. There is also no snowfall in Uwano Kogen, Kami Town, in northern Hyogo Prefecture.

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, from the 21st onwards, cold air will flow into the sky, causing temperatures to drop over a wide area, and snow is expected in Hokkaido, Tohoku, and Niigata prefectures, but in Hokuriku, Kinki, and the Chugoku region, temperatures will not drop enough and rain will continue. It is expected.

Not enough snow.. Ski resorts “national sports” are also struggling

This warm winter season is having a widespread impact on winter sports and events that feature snow as a selling point.

At the ski resort in Naganohara Town, Gunma Prefecture, there was less snow than usual, and all courses were open for skiing about a week later than usual.

The business period is scheduled to end on April 7th, but they are considering shortening the period if the weather continues to be warm.

Additionally, ski resorts in Iinan Town, Shimane Prefecture will temporarily close their facilities starting from the 19th.

There is almost no snow on the slopes, and they are aiming to resume operations after the 23rd by spraying artificial snow with a hose.

Furthermore, the warm winter has also affected the skiing National Sports Festival, which has been renamed from the National Athletic Meet (National Athletic Meet) and will begin in Yamagata Prefecture on the 21st.

The Alpine Giant Slalom course was originally planned to be over 1km long, but due to a lack of snow to set up the course, it was shortened by more than half to 480m.

Impact on winter traditions

At Lake Hachiro in Akita Prefecture, the smelt fishing season was upon us on the 6th of this month, but the surface of the lake did not freeze, causing problems for anglers.

The average temperature around the lake last month was 2.9 degrees higher than normal, meaning it is unusual for the lake to be ice-free at this time of year.

An annual event held at Kusatsu Onsen in Gunma Prefecture has been cancelled.

We were planning to hold an event to light up the kamakura from last month until the end of this month, but there wasn't enough snow to build the kamakura, which was the main attraction.

Yonezawa City, Yamagata Prefecture, which is known for its heavy snowfall, ran out of snow to make the lanterns that decorate the snow festival venue, so approximately 1,000 tons of snow was hurriedly transported from the mountains.

Although the Snow Festival was able to be held, the number of snow lanterns had to be reduced to about half of the planned number.

Spinach grows quickly, ``there is almost no profit''

Shipments of agricultural products are also beginning to be affected.

Farmers in Ota City, Gunma Prefecture have been moving up their harvest schedule from the beginning because spinach and other crops are growing about two weeks earlier than usual.

The increase in overall shipments to the market has disrupted the balance of supply and demand, causing prices to fall, which is having an impact on sales, and the soaring price of fertilizer is also putting pressure on management.

The profit per bag has fallen by about 4 yen compared to last year, and farmer Yasunari Kubota (64) said, ``We have to cover the cost of fertilizer and other things in difficult times, so there is almost no profit.'' I want people to understand that it's not made for them, and eat as much as possible.''

Also, cabbage farmers in Choshi City, Chiba Prefecture, whose fields are normally harvested in March, are now at their peak harvesting time, about 20 days earlier.

Farmer Seiichi Mabuchi is worried that if harvesting and shipping progresses during this period, prices will drop as the harvest overlaps with harvests in other regions. Cabbages can be harvested, but there may be a gap between harvests and a transition period may occur."

Be wary of avalanches “even if there is little snow”

On the other hand, avalanche experts say that even if there is little snow, people should be aware of the risk of avalanches.

We asked Kazuki Nakamura, director of the Snow and Ice Disaster Prevention Research Center at the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention in Nagaoka City, Niigata Prefecture, about why we need to be cautious even in mild winters.

2015 Avalanche that occurred on a national highway in Niigata Prefecture

Reason 1: Dangerous period has been brought forward from previous years In normal

years, the danger of avalanches called "full-thickness avalanches" increases in early spring, when temperatures rise and snow begins to melt in areas with heavy snowfall.

However, there are many days this winter that are unseasonably warm, and the risk of avalanches has been increasing since February.

(Full-thickness avalanche...occurs when the ground surface is a slippery surface. The entire pile of snow collapses)

Reason 2: Temperature differences increase the risk of avalanches

This winter, there are periods of high and low temperatures, and the temperature difference is larger than usual.

Mr. Nakamura points out that when the temperature rises and the surface of the snow melts, and then the temperature drops, a layer is formed that is easy to collapse, and when snow accumulates on this layer, ``surface avalanches'' are more likely to occur.

(Surface avalanche: The sliding surface is inside the snow. It occurs when the surface of the snow collapses.)

Kazuki Nakamura, Director of the Snow and Ice Disaster Prevention Research Center

: ``This week, after rising temperatures at the beginning of the week, it is expected to cool down into the weekend, increasing the risk of avalanches.Just because there is little snow does not mean avalanches will not occur. If melt water seeps into the soil, there is a risk of landslides.Even if the situation is different from previous years, please remain vigilant."

Be more cautious in earthquake-affected areas

Late January Himi City, Toyama Prefecture

In the areas affected by the Noto Peninsula Earthquake, there are areas where landslides and landslides have occurred, leaving the ground exposed as trees have disappeared. Avalanches are more likely to occur in these areas and caution is required.

In addition to avalanches, if a large amount of snow accumulates on a building that has been damaged by an earthquake, the weight increases the risk of it collapsing, and the snow that accumulates on the roof raises the center of gravity of the building, causing an earthquake. This means that it may sometimes become unstable.