Snowstorm hits Japan
Hundreds of cars were left stranded when a snowstorm hit Japan, covering a major travel route with up to 7 feet of snow.
Food, fuel and blankets were distributed by the authorities to everyone who were stuck on the Kanetsu Expressway, which connects Tokyo to Niigata.
Drivers were encouraged to remain in their vehicles, some were forced to melt snow for drinking water. At least 1,000 cars were stranded on Thursday on the Expressway. The traffic jam peaked overtime, with the chain reaction of halted vehicles spanning nearly 10 miles.
At least 134 cars were involved in a series of crashes when the snow storm hit. Authorities had imposed a speed limit of 50 kph (31 mph) when heavy snow cut visibility but that wasn’t enough to prevent the disaster. 200 people were caught up in the crashes out of which 12 were sent to the hospital.
Japan’s climate usually favours heavy snowfall in the mountains. Arctic wintertime cold fronts from Siberia surge south across northeast China and the Korean Peninsula, arriving in Japan after passing over the adjacent sea.