KANAZAWA, ISHIKAWA PREF. - As many as 800 cars remained stranded for a second day on Wednesday in Fukui Prefecture as heavy snow continued to blanket a wide area along the Sea of Japan coast.
The snow, which has caused havoc to transportation services in the region, was expected to last through the day, and the Meteorological Agency is warning of continued traffic disruptions and slippery roads.
The Ground Self-Defense Force had dealt with the snow Tuesday night for a line of vehicles that stretched some 10 kilometers. As many as 1,500 cars in the cities of Awara and Sakai had been trapped.
In addition to road-clearing, some 750 GSDF personnel were also mobilized to distribute water and food. A traffic disruption occurred after a large vehicle slid partially off the road and got stuck on Tuesday morning, blocking the route.
Five people complaining of fatigue were sent to a nearby medical station, but they reportedly suffered no serious health issues.
Sakai municipal officials opened up a community center and two other establishments for drivers to rest while providing food and blankets.
People walked a couple of kilometers from their cars to purchase food at convenience stores, emptying shelves. “We couldn’t refill our shelves. It was just a matter of time until we ran out of stock,” said Akio Okuda, 69. “I hope the traffic gets taken care of quickly.”
The neighborhood found itself buried in snow nearly two stories high. A 68-year-old local said he feels sorry for the people stranded, but that it’s difficult for him to help out since he had his own hands full.
Central Nippon Expressway Co. offered a toll-free service between the Fukui Interchange and the Kaga Interchange on the Hokuriku Expressway, which runs parallel to Route 8.
Some sections of the Hokuriku Expressway and the Tokai-Hokuriku Expressway were forced to close and a total of 94 trains were canceled, according to officials.
The city of Fukui registered more than 60 centimeters of snow over two days through Tuesday.