National

Heavy snow strands 1,000 vehicles on Fukui Prefecture road

Kyodo

Heavy snow blanketed much of the Sea of Japan coast on Tuesday, disrupting transportation and prompting authorities to request the dispatch of the Self-Defense Forces for disaster relief after about 1,000 vehicles were stranded.

Due to a strong cold front and a low-pressure system, snow continued to fall mainly in the Hokuriku region, which has seen heavier snow accumulation than in average years. The same day, the central government set up a liaison office at the Prime Minister’s Office to gather information about the snow.

The Meteorological Agency warned the public that heavy snowfall could continue through Wednesday from northern to western Japan, mainly in the areas along the Sea of Japan coast.

The agency said a strong cold air mass of 39 degrees below zero passed through northern Japan, while cold air also flowed into western Japan.

The snow brought the Hokuriku Shinkansen— which links Tokyo with areas on the Sea of Japan coast — and limited express trains to a crawl, while some flights were also cancelled.

In Fukui Prefecture, about 1,000 vehicles were stranded on National Route 8. West Japan Railway Co. delayed its two Hokuriku Shinkansen lines.

The railway operator’s Kanazawa branch said the route between Kanazawa in Ishikawa Prefecture and Itoigawa in Niigata Prefecture operated at a reduced speed from its first train, resulting in a delay of as much as 39 minutes. Two other train services between the Kanazawa and Toyama were suspended. The delays affected a total of 1,300 people.

As for limited express trains, a total of 88 train lines were suspended.

More than 20 flights set to depart from or arrive at Komatsu airport in Ishikawa Prefecture were canceled.

Also cancelled were 10 domestic flights bound for and departing from Toyama airport.

There were also closures on some sections of the Hokuriku Expressway.

The snowfall forecast over a 24-hour period through 6 a.m. Wednesday said accumulation could reach 80 cm in the Hokuriku region, 60 cm in the Tokai region and 50 cm in Hokkaido, Tohoku, Kinki and Chugoku regions.