Numerous vehicles on National Route No. 8 are stuck waiting for snow to be removed, and a car is rescued from deep snow in Fukui in the afternoon of Feb. 6. (Kazuhiro Ichikawa)

The Self-Defense Forces were called out to rescue around 1,000 vehicles stranded in heavy snow on National Route No. 8 in the cities of Awara and Sakai, Fukui Prefecture, on Feb. 6.

The prefectural government requested emergency assistance at 12:17 p.m. after removal efforts that morning failed to keep pace with the continuous snowfall.

Vehicles are moving along very slowly, with long lines building up in many parts of the prefecture as they wait for help to arrive while the blizzard continues.

Snow had accumulated to a depth of 136 centimeters in Fukui as of 2 p.m. that day.

The Fukui Local Meteorological Office said it is the first time that snowfall has exceeded 130 cm in the prefecture since 1981’s “Goroku Gosetsu” (five six torrential snow) extreme weather event, whose name derives from the 56th year of the Showa Era (1926-1989).

The snowfall is 6.4 times that of an average year, with 66 cm accumulating in the past 24 hours alone.