1,100 cars were swept away on the highway due to heavy snow, causing blackout in Japan


The government and police said about 1,100 vehicles were stranded on an expressway and more than 10,000 homes were blacked out as heavy snowfall occurred over a wide area along the sea of ​​Japan.

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, snow has disrupted many road and train services since Wednesday and heavy falls are expected to continue in such areas on Friday. It warned of more traffic disruptions due to slippery roads.

Vehicles are stranded on Kanatsu Expressway in Niigata Province on December 17, 2020.
(Photo courtesy of Yoshinobu Wakia) (Kyodo)

Vehicles are stranded on Kanatsu Expressway in Niigata Province on December 17, 2020.
(Photo courtesy of Yoshinobu Wakia) (Kyodo)

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said that the self-defense forces were stationed in Niigata Province after receiving requests for disaster relief from the government.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said that the security of the residents would be verified along with distributing food, fuel and blankets to the soldiers.

Cato told a press conference that the government has formed a task force to deal with snow, and that more than 10,000 homes have suffered electricity in total, in Niigata in western North Japan and Hyogo Prefecture in western Japan.

According to the Nitamata Police, about 1,100 vehicles were stranded on both sides of the Kanatesu Expressway, which connects Tokyo and Niigata.

Vehicles are stranded on Kanatsu Expressway in Niigata Province on December 17, 2020.

(Photo courtesy of a driver) (Kyodo)

Vehicles are stranded on Kanatsu Expressway in Niigata Province on December 17, 2020. (Kyodo)

According to police and highway operator East Nippon Expressway Company, at one point on Thursday morning a line of cars stretched 16.5 kilometers. On Wednesday night, a trailer was caught in snow near an interchange at Minamionuma in Niigata Prefecture.

Speaking at an emergency cabinet meeting in the afternoon, Suga called on the public to be “sufficiently alert to traffic disturbances and damage to facilities as well as roofs and snow falling from avalanches, and necessary preparations in advance.” Do. “

According to local rescuers, a woman in her 30s, who was trapped in a car near an interchange in Minamionuma, was rushed to the hospital after complaining of breathing problems.

A truck driver in his 40s from Niigata Prefecture said, “I have no idea. I want to know what the current situation is, and at around what time I can get out of it.” He was stuck on the road while trying to deliver goods to the province of Ganma.

Some 300 vehicles were also stranded at one point on the Joshinetsu Expressway, which connects Niigata, Nagano and Gunma Prefecture on Wednesday night after a truck was unable to move. The gridlock lasted until 10 am Thursday.

The East Nippon Expressway distributed food, water and portable toilets to drivers who were stranded on two highways.

Record levels of snow have been seen in some areas of the country. Minakami in Gumma province saw 217 centimeters in a span of 72 hours on Thursday morning, while Yuzawa in Niigata province saw more than 180 cm by 8 am

On December 16, 2020, people try to remove snow from the roof of a house in Gunma Prefecture, Minakami, eastern Japan. (Kyodo) == Kyodo

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