The Japanese weather bureau said on Tuesday that La Niña had arrived, following its August announcement that the weather pattern would be a 70% chance to emerge. The revelation bodes well for Japanese ski resorts, which tend to benefit from cold temperatures and huge snowfalls in winters where a La Niña weather pattern is present.
The last two winter seasons affected by a La Niña were 2011/12 and 2005/06 – which, in Japan, are remembered for some of the largest snowfalls on record.
However, the bureau also added that there was only a 60% chance that the weather pattern would remain through the winter months of December through February – the height of ski season for most of Japan’s resorts.
In fact, weather reports from the U.S. contradict the Japanese weather bureau, suggesting that La Niña is no longer likely to develop, and that “neutral conditions are more likely”.
Regardless of the La Niña outcome, Japanese resorts – particularly those in Hokkaido – will be readying themselves for yet another big winter. Japan’s northernmost island is renowned for its massive snowfalls, the result of cold winds that blow over from Siberia, pick up moisture over the Sea of Japan and deposit huge amounts of light, dry snow.
Resorts are already reporting early season snowfalls, with reps from Kiroro, Niseko, Furano, Hakuba taking to social media to proclaim the arrival of winter.