Frigid air swept through a wide area along the Sea of Japan on Thursday, dumping record snowfalls and setting record-low temperatures for December in northern parts of the country, the Meteorological Agency said.

Local observatories measured 93 cm of snow in Tsuruoka, Yamagata Prefecture, and 86 cm in the city of Akita in the morning, both breaking accumulation records.

The first snowfall of the season was recorded in warmer areas, including Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture, and the cities of Hiroshima and Fukuoka.

In Memuro, central Hokkaido, temperatures dipped to minus 25, the lowest reading ever recorded in December.

A number of cities saw the lowest temperatures of the season, including Sapporo at minus 7.1, Tokyo at 4.6, and the cities of Niigata and Miyazaki, where the mercury fell to 0.2.

The weekend forecast: continued cold and snow.