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Hundreds of cars stuck in Japan following massive snowstorm

TOKYO -- Hundreds of cars are stuck on a hillside trunk road in Japan after it was hit by a snowstorm which is now heading north, officials said Sunday.

The snowstorm killed three people, grounded more than 100 flights and disrupted road and rail transport Friday and Saturday.

It is now moving northward, Japan's meteorological agency said Sunday, warning of heavy snow, storms and snowslides as well as high waves in eastern and northern Japan.

National Route 18 that runs through Gunma and Nagano prefectures north of Tokyo is partly closed as hundreds of cars are stuck due to heavy snow, a local official told AFP.

The congestion extends for several kilometers, said the official in the ski resort of Karuizawa in Nagano prefecture.

“We have opened up three community halls nearby for people who were inside the stuck cars, and are now preparing to offer hot meals,” he said.

“Some drivers have run out of gasoline so they need temporary shelter.”

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