The death toll from snowstorms that have blasted northern and central Japan since early December rose to 71 on Monday after three people died while clearing snow, police and news reports said.

Also Monday, Japan's military dispatched nearly 200 troops to the northern Akita prefecture to help residents shovel snow, after about 100 troops were sent Sunday to the hard-hit central prefectures of Nagano and Niigata, according to prefectural police and officials.

In Akita, a 51-year-old man died of head injury after falling from the roof that collapsed while he was shoveling snow, prefectural police spokesman Shoji Hashimoto said. Three other people were injured while trying to remove snow in the area, he added.

In Niigata, about 160 miles northwest of Tokyo, an 89-year-old man was found dead in his snow-covered backyard with a shovel near his body, apparently after falling from a roof while shoveling snow, said Niigata police spokesman Daijiro Tamaki.

Seven others in the prefecture suffered minor injuries while shoveling snow, Tamaki said.

In nearby Nagano, an 86-year-old woman died in a similar accident, the prefectural police said.

The Nagano prefectural office said in a statement that it dispatched a medical team Monday to the village of Sakae, which was isolated by heavy snowfall of as much as 10.4 feet.

The three latest deaths brought the number of snow-related casualties to 71, according to Kyodo News agency, citing its own tally as of Monday.

Many died while shoveling snow and two women died last week after a house collapsed under the weight of snowfall on the roof. More than 1,000 others have been injured.

More snow was expected in northern Japan on Tuesday.

Snowstorms have subsided in central Japan, but the Meteorological Agency warned of possible avalanches triggered by higher temperatures.

The agency said that 42 points across Japan have seen record snowfall for January.