The road to recovery after Japan's devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis will be a long one, to say the least. On that road, the country will remain extra sensitive to adverse weather.
Similar to the climates of Boston, Mass., or Islip, N.Y., cold weather and snow can last through late March and early April in northern Japan. For the thousands of people still missing in the rubble, waiting in long lines for food and water, are without power, or helping with recovery efforts, cold weather poses health risks, including hypothermia.
Snow already affected earthquake- and tsunami-ravaged areas last week with an inch or two accumulating in hard-hit Sendai. More snow will affect the mountains and foothills as well as some lower elevations of northeastern Japan Tuesday night into Wednesday of this week, according to AccuWeather.com Expert International Forecaster Jim Andrews.
In addition to cold weather and snow, any heavy rain events in the coming weeks and months would also be detrimental to the disaster areas, especially if flooding were to result.
Residents make their way through falling snow along streets in the city of Ishinomaki, northeastern Japan, on Thursday, March 17, 2011 following last week's massive earthquake and resulting tsunami. (AP Photo/Kyodo News)
Eventually, concerns about high-impact weather in Japan will increase even more, as typhoon season for Japan begins in the summer. The AccuWeather.com 2011 Typhoon Season Forecast discusses the chances of a tropical system affecting Japan's disaster areas this year.
More Cold Weather, Snow Prospects in Japan Next Week
Relief from the cold, snowy weather that had been affecting northeastern Japan last week arrived over the weekend, when temperatures climbed into the 50s F (10° to 15° C).
This relief did not last long, however. A storm started bringing more rain to the area early this week with temperatures falling back into the 40s for highs.
Andrews said that the air will be cold enough to allow snow to fall Tuesday night into early Wednesday.
Sendai could get light snow accumulations Tuesday night into Wednesday with higher elevations to the north and west more likely to get a few inches of snow.
Tsunami damage is seen in a residential area in Kamaishi, Japan, Thursday, March 17, 2011. As collecting bodies increasingly becomes the focus of crews working along Japan's devastated tsunami coast, it's clear that Friday's twin disasters, feared to have killed more than 10,000, have taken their heaviest toll on the elderly in this rapidly aging nation. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Thereafter, Mohler and AccuWeather.com Expert Long-Range Forecaster Paul Pastelok said that snow showers and flurries could continue affecting northern Japan, including the earthquake and tsunami areas, at times Wednesday into the early part of this weekend.
Temperatures are again expected to range from highs in the upper 30s to lower 40s F (about 3° to 6° C), and lows near or below 30° F (-1° C) much of this week. Gusty winds at times will make it feel even colder.
By Wednesday night and Thursday, yet another storm may bring the chance of snow to areas farther south, including Tokyo, while the snow showers and flurries continue farther north.
Outlook into Early April
As to be expected during the spring, more ups and downs in temperature are forecast through early April in Japan. In general, with chilly periods alternating with brief warm-ups, temperatures should average out near normal for the next 30 days.
With the chilly periods, there may be more opportunities for snow in northeastern Japan beyond next week. Mohler said that come early April, however, chances for snow start to diminish along the coast.
The country is expected to remain in a generally stormy weather pattern into early April with precipitation averaging out near or above normal over the next 30 days.
Japan Climate Information
The zone worst-affected by the earthquake and tsunami has a similar latitude to the Delmarva Peninsula of the U.S., with Sendai being comparable to Ocean City, Md. The climate of this zone, however, is actually more similar to areas farther north along the East Coast of the U.S., such as Islip, N.Y., or Boston, Mass.
Average high temperatures during late March in Sendai are in the upper 40s to lower 50s F (9° to 12° C), while nighttime temperatures typically fall into the lower to mid-30s F (0° to 2° C).
By mid-April, average high temperatures rise to near 60° F (about 15° C), while nighttime low temperatures typically don't dip below 40 degrees F (roughly 4° C).
An unusually strong push of cool air for early September will move southward along the Atlantic Seaboard into the Labor Day weekend, before July-like heat returns by next week.
While lulls in tropical activity in the Atlantic will continue, a rapid end to the hurricane season in September does not always occur during an El Nino.
After heat has dominated headlines this summer, cool air has finally taken control of the northern half of Europe with no signs of departing anytime soon.
While Tropical Storm Kevin will stay well away from Mexico, its moisture will still lead to an increase in showers and thunderstorms from Baja California to the Four Corners region of the United States.
A stormy weather pattern will prevail through September across much of southern South America.
Steering winds could take Ignacio, as a remnant storm, into the southeastern arm of Alaska or British Columbia during the middle days of next week.
Coffeyville, KS (1970)
Hailstone 17.5/44 cm in circumference 1.671 lb/757 gm.
Long Island NY (1821)
Long Island hurricane of 1821 struck western Long Island. The storm affected a densely populated area where weather observers were common.
Tampa, FL (1935)
The "Labor Day" hurricane hit Tampa, killing 400 people. Earlier, this intense storm had a center barometric pressure of 26.35 inches - the lowest recorded sea level pressure in the Western Hemisphere.