Very cold air swept through large swaths of areas along the Sea of Japan on Thursday, causing record accumulations of snow and record-low temperatures for December in northern parts of the country, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

Local observatories measured 93 and 86 centimeters of snow in Tsuruoka, Yamagata Prefecture, and Akita, respectively, in the morning for a record accumulation for the month at each location.

The first snowfall of the winter was observed in some warmer places, including Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture, Hiroshima and Fukuoka.

In Memuro, central Hokkaido, temperatures dipped to as low as minus 25 C, the lowest ever for December for the observatory point. A number of cities had their lowest temperatures this winter, including Sapporo with minus 7.1 C, Tokyo with 4.6 C and Niigata and Miyazaki with 0.2 C each.

The meteorological agency warned that the cold weather and heavy snow are forecast to continue into Friday through Sunday.