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Vehicles Trapped in Snow on Meishin Expressway in Gifu Prefecture Freed

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Cars are stuck in traffic due to heavy snowfall in Sekigahara, Gifu Prefecture, on Wednesday evening.

Vehicles that had become stuck in heavy snow on the Meishin Expressway in Gifu Prefecture were freed early Thursday morning, but snow continued to fall along the Sea of Japan coast and was causing further travel disruptions during this winter’s coldest snap so far.

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, snowfall was forecast to ease by Thursday evening, but was expected to continue from Hokkaido to the Hokuriku region through Friday. The agency warned drivers to be careful of icy roads and traffic disruptions caused by the weather.

Many vehicles had become trapped by snow near the Meishin Expressway’s Sekigahara interchange since 9 a.m. Wednesday. The Ground Self-Defense Force and other authorities helped to clear the snow, and the vehicles were freed almost 19 hours later at about 4 a.m. Thursday.

The Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry said 47 sections on 10 expressways, including the Meishin and Hokuriku expressways, were closed to traffic as of 6:30 a.m. Thursday. Fifteen sections of 12 national roads, in prefectures including Hokkaido and Gifu, were also not open.

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, the snow will gradually ease, but blizzards are possible in parts of Hokkaido until Friday morning. Temperatures across Japan are forecast to be higher than average from about Sunday. The agency warned people to be careful of avalanches in areas that had received heavy snowfall.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Trucks remain stranded by heavy snow near the Meishin Expressway’s Sekigahara interchange in Gifu Prefecture on Wednesday evening.