By Emiko Jozuka and Heather Chen, CNN
Heavy snowfall in northern Japan and other parts of the country killed at least 17 people and injured more than 90 others over the Christmas weekend, authorities said.
An official with Japan’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency said a woman in her 70s died after she was buried underneath snow that fell off a roof in Nagai city, Yamagata prefecture, where snow had piled up higher than 80 centimeters (2.6 feet) by Saturday.
Parts of Japan, mainly along the west coast, have been hit hard by heavy snow due to powerful winter fronts, weather officials said — stranding vehicles on highways and delaying delivery services since mid-December.
The Japan Meteorological Agency said last week that snowfall in some parts had accumulated at levels far above average.
Japan has seen increasingly adverse weather conditions in recent years. Its climate is predominantly temperate but varies greatly from north to south.
December saw harsh snowstorms in northeastern regions like Hokkaido while parts of the south were battered by heavy rains from a powerful typhoon in September.
And in June, Tokyo experienced a heatwave that saw temperatures soar past a record 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).
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