Stranded Fukui travelers sleep in cars, trains

KANAZAWA, Ishikawa Pref. (Kyodo) About 1,200 cars were stuck in traffic on a national road and an expressway in Fukui Prefecture from Sunday night through Monday morning as heavy snow hit areas mainly along the Sea of Japan, the road operators said Monday.

Heavy snow also stranded seven local express trains between Kanazawa Station in Ishikawa Prefecture and Tsuruga Station in Fukui Prefecture, forcing a combined 1,700 passengers to spend the night on the trains, West Japan Railway Co. said.

The Meteorological Agency warned that heavy snow would continue toward late Monday in the areas.

In Fukui Prefecture, Minamiechizen saw a record high 82 cm fall in the 24 hours to Monday morning, and the accumulation of snow there reached 237 cm as of noon. Accumulations hit 119 cm in the city of Fukui as of Monday morning, 77 cm in the city of Toyama and 64 cm in Kanazawa.

JR West said it decided to suspend all train services in Toyama, Ishikawa and Fukui prefectures, the first full suspension of its services ever.