Some residents who attempted to drive to higher ground after tsunami warnings in northeastern Japan early Tuesday found themselves caught in traffic.
An official of Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture, says a main road from the coastal district to inland areas was filled with cars apparently trying to evacuate.
The official says he saw many cars carrying entire families and that the traffic congestion was unusual for that time of day. He says the atmosphere was tense, as the residents were apparently reminded of the March 2011 tsunami.
He called on residents not to use their cars if they are able to evacuate on foot, as part of the road is designated as an area that could be submerged in the event of a tsunami.
In Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture, more than 100 people evacuated to a park on higher ground.
But a narrow road leading to the park soon became jammed.
Some drivers parked their cars on the roadside, hindering others from getting by. Traffic was backed up for a long way as a result.
The city has been asking residents to evacuate on foot in principle.