As Japan continues to deal with a persisting cold front, Christmas Day brought record low temperatures to as many as 44 locations, mostly in the northern region and on the island of Hokkaido. The Japan Meteorological Agency warned that cold temperatures would last throughout the week, with more heavy snowfall in the north and areas that face the Sea of Japan.
Tuesday saw temperatures setting a record low for the month of December, with Hokkaido’s city of Furano reaching minus 28.4 degrees, the coldest ever recorded since monitoring began. Record lows were also made in Tokyo, at 6 degrees, and the prefectures of Tottori and Saitama with minus 8 degrees. Homes and offices in Japan very rarely have central heating systems, and windows are poorly insulated, making it sometimes difficult to keep warm in the winter. People instead rely on kerosene-powered space heaters, creating a high demand for oil. In areas where snowfall makes it difficult to drive, gasoline stations drive trucks around with tanks of fuel and long hoses, making deliveries so people don’t even have to leave their homes.
The city of Monbetsu, also in Hokkaido, reported a meteorological phenomenon known as ice fog occurring on Tuesday. The meteorological agency says this takes place when the water vapors from the ocean rise and meet cold air on land to form thick, low-hanging clouds of very cold fog.