Snowstorms are hitting parts of Japan's northern prefecture of Hokkaido.

Japanese weather officials say a strong winter weather pattern is bringing snow to the Sea of Japan coast in northern and eastern Japan.

Nearly 20 centimeters of snow fell in Teshio, Hokkaido, over 6 hours on Monday morning.

By 9 a.m., more than 80 centimeters of snow had accumulated in Rumoi, also in Hokkaido, and over 60 centimeters in Yonezawa, Yamagata Prefecture.

Strong winds are also blowing. Shortly before 9 a.m., maximum gusts topped 80 kilometers per hour in Muroran, Hokkaido.

Snowfall is likely to continue on the Sea of Japan coast in northern and eastern Japan. During the 24-hour period until Tuesday morning, up to 50 centimeters of snow is expected in Hokkaido and 40 centimeters in the Tohoku region and Niigata Prefecture.

High winds are also forecast for coastal areas of northern Japan. In Hokkaido, maximum gusts are likely to exceed 120 kilometers per hour on Monday.

Weather officials are urging people in Hokkaido and Tohoku to stay alert for possible transport disruptions caused by blizzards and snowdrifts. People planning to return home from holiday destinations are advised to check the latest traffic information.