Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido shivers at record breaking -31.8C

Written by on February 15, 2019 in Asia, Rest of World with 0 Comments

Bitter Siberian air swept across Japan’s northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido last weekend. So cold, it was dubbed the coldest air mass in recorded history to visit said the Japan Meteorological Society as temperatures dipped to -31.8C in Rikubetsu on February 9.

Considered the coldest city in all of Japan, Rikubetsu’s average low dips to -20C by the end of January/beginning of February and the -31.8C recorded last weekend fell just shy of its all-time record of -33.2C.

Climate data for Rikubetsu, Hokkaido (1981~2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 6.6
(43.9)
9.8
(49.6)
14.9
(58.8)
29.3
(84.7)
31.9
(89.4)
35.5
(95.9)
33.7
(92.7)
35.1
(95.2)
32.6
(90.7)
25.0
(77.0)
19.9
(67.8)
12.9
(55.2)
35.5
(95.9)
Average high °C (°F) −2.8
(27.0)
−1.8
(28.8)
2.6
(36.7)
10.5
(50.9)
16.8
(62.2)
20.5
(68.9)
23.2
(73.8)
24.5
(76.1)
20.3
(68.5)
14.6
(58.3)
6.9
(44.4)
−0.1
(31.8)
11.3
(52.3)
Daily mean °C (°F) −11.4
(11.5)
−10
(14)
−3.7
(25.3)
3.8
(38.8)
9.7
(49.5)
14.1
(57.4)
17.8
(64.0)
19.2
(66.6)
14.4
(57.9)
7.6
(45.7)
0.4
(32.7)
−7.5
(18.5)
4.5
(40.1)
Average low °C (°F) −20.2
(−4.4)
−19.2
(−2.6)
−11.4
(11.5)
−2.7
(27.1)
2.8
(37.0)
8.6
(47.5)
13.4
(56.1)
14.9
(58.8)
9.3
(48.7)
1.3
(34.3)
−5.8
(21.6)
−14.9
(5.2)
−2.0
(28.4)
Record low °C (°F) −33.2
(−27.8)
−33.1
(−27.6)
−27.6
(−17.7)
−19.1
(−2.4)
−7.2
(19.0)
−2.1
(28.2)
2.1
(35.8)
4.2
(39.6)
−2.4
(27.7)
−9.2
(15.4)
−20.9
(−5.6)
−27.6
(−17.7)
−33.2
(−27.8)
Averageprecipitation mm (inches) 36.9
(1.45)
21.7
(0.85)
41.3
(1.63)
54.1
(2.13)
70.5
(2.78)
60.8
(2.39)
105.0
(4.13)
124.3
(4.89)
120.1
(4.73)
75.4
(2.97)
51.1
(2.01)
36.6
(1.44)
797.8
(31.4)
Average snowfall cm (inches) 109
(43)
80
(31)
86
(34)
28
(11)
2
(0.8)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
1
(0.4)
20
(7.9)
94
(37)
420
(165.1)

Within the same region as Rikubetsu, -40C was recorded back in January 2000 in Seki district. Japan’s lowest recorded temperature.

3 sites on Hokkaido recorded -30C with 10 others setting new record lows.

About 1,500 metres above the city of Saporro, the thermometer hit -24.4C, the coldest since records began back in 1957. The city itself hit -12.5C.

People walk in Sapporo on Friday as the temperature dropped to minus 12 degrees. Photo: KYODO

Over the interior of Hokkaido, cities recorded temperatures between -20 and -25C

10 sites on Hokkaido island recorded their lowest ever temperatures with a couple exceeding -30C!

This cold comes within a year of Japan recording it’s hottest day on record last July.

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