Heavy snow halts 800 cars in Niigata Pref.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Snowbound vehicles are seen early Tuesday morning on National Highway Route No. 17 in Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture.

Heavy snow continued Tuesday in Niigata Prefecture and elsewhere along the Sea of Japan trapping vehicles on national highways in the prefecture’s Nagaoka and Kashiwazaki.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said 46 centimeters of snow had fallen in 24 hours in Niigata as of 10 a.m. Tuesday, while 40 centimeters fell in Tokamachi and Sekikawa, 34 centimeters in Uonuma and 33 centimeters in Nagaoka, during the same period.

Heavy snow is forecast again in areas along the Sea of Japan from Friday through the weekend.

The Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry said as of 10 a.m. Tuesday, vehicles were stuck along parts of National Highway Routes No. 8 and No. 17 — stretching about 33 kilometers from Mitsuke to Nagaoka and Ojiya cities — as well as a section of No. 8 in Kashiwazaki, with cars halted along an about 22-kilometer stretch of road. In Kashiwazaki, up to about 800 vehicles were at one point stuck on National Highway Route 8.

By Tuesday, the prefectural government had applied the Disaster Relief Law to the cities of Kashiwazaki, Nagaoka, Ojiya and Uonuma, and provided relief supplies. It also requested the Ground Self-Defense Force to dispatch disaster relief personnel shortly after 5 a.m. on the day.

According to Tohoku Electric Power Co., about 20,000 households in the prefecture were without power as of 10 a.m. on Tuesday.