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Snowstorm Traps 1K Drivers for 2 Days

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 18, 2020 4:54 AM CST

(Newser) – The US Northeast isn't the only place digging out after a massive snowfall. In Japan, more than 1,000 people have been stranded on a highway, some of them for more than 40 hours, by a heavy snowstorm that began late Wednesday, CNN reports. Authorities say that at one point, the frozen traffic jam on the Kanetsu highway, which connects Tokyo to the northern Honshu city of Niigata, stretched for more than 10 miles. The military has distributed food, gas, and blankets to stranded drivers and vehicles are being dug out one by one, but at least 1,000 vehicles were still stranded at noon Friday local time, the BBC reports.

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At least two motorists have been hospitalized and the country's highways operator has warned drivers of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning when stuck in their vehicles for many hours. "The snow was extremely heavy. As time went by, the cars got buried," one driver told NHK Thursday. "I was really scared. I've eaten all of my food and drinks. Now, to drink water, I have to melt snow I collect in a plastic bottle." The snowfall, which is expected to continue until Saturday, has also knocked out power to at least 10,000 homes. (Read more Japan stories.)

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