Heavy Snowfall Keeps Many Vehicles Stranded in Niigata Pref.


Niigata, Dec. 20 (Jiji Press)--Heavy snowfall continued to strand a number of vehicles in Niigata Prefecture, central Japan, Tuesday morning, prompting the prefectural government to ask the Ground Self-Defense Force to send personnel for relief activities.

Traffic has been disrupted since Monday, with a line of vehicles stretching for about 22 kilometers on National Route 8 in the city of Kashiwazaki and about 32 kilometers on the national road and National Route 17 in the city of Mitsuke and the neighboring city of Nagaoka as of 6 a.m. (9 p.m. Monday GMT), according to the transport ministry’s Hokuriku regional bureau.

About 800 vehicles were stranded on National Route 8 in Kashiwazaki as of 1 a.m., which led to vehicles on other national roads being stuck as well.

The regional bureau closed sections where vehicles got stranded for intensive snow removal work. Staff from the municipal governments of Kashiwazaki, Nagaoka and the city of Ojiya, which neighbors Nagaoka, provided water, food and portable toilets to people in affected vehicles, including the drivers.

Due to the impact of the snowfall, some 18,000 households in Niigata were left without electricity as of noon, according to Tohoku Electric Power Co. <9506>. The Japan Meteorological Agency’s local observatory in Niigata warned that heavy snow is highly likely to fall in the prefecture again from Friday.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press