SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — During the past couple of days here, snowmen emerged from the white layer of fluffy flakes on the ground, kids — and adults — fought fierce snowball battles and other people chose to stay warm and dry.

It’s snowed every day since Wednesday at this southern Japan base, and the thickest snowfall is predicted this weekend.

Officials closed the base Thursday to vehicles and personnel except those deemed “mission essential.”

When opened Friday, base residents hit commissaries and other stores to stock up on food, supplies and other needed items knowing another precautionary base closure was almost assured.

The children in the housing areas can’t get enough of it and particularly enjoyed having Thursday and Friday out of school. Many adults enjoyed their time off, too.

Along with ice and snow accumulations here, it’s also just plain old cold. Daytime temperatures have hovered in the mid-to-high 30s.

In addition to the snow, Navy forecasters say high winds will occur Saturday and Sunday, making it seem much colder with wind-chill readings in the 10s and 20s.

“Dress warmly in layered clothing and minimize skin exposure to the wind. Don’t forget to bring pets inside so they can stay warm,” states an advisory from NPMODS online, accessible from the base’s Web site at

Base Human Resources Director Sam Miller said he plans to spend Saturday and Sunday enjoying the great indoors.

“The wife went to the commissary [Friday afternoon] to stock up on items we might need over the weekend, so we’re set,” Miller said. “And I have a couple of good books to settle in with.

“I may even challenge the wife to a game of chess or two.”

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