Record-breaking rainfall threatens much of Japan, 160 000 advised or ordered to evacuate


The Japan Meteorological Agency has advised or ordered more than 160 000 people to evacuate as seasonal rain front hanging over the country threatens with record-breaking rainfall through the weekend. JMA cautioned of the rising likelihood of flooding, landslides, lightning and tornadoes. Stormy weather on July 5 has already left at least one person dead and several injured.

A low pressure system and an active rain front brought heavy rain to wide areas from western to eastern Japan on July 5 even after Typhoon "Prapiroon" was downgraded to an extra-tropical cyclone, the JMA said Thursday, July 5, 2018.

In Inagawa, Hyogo Prefecture, three workers were swept away in a drain at a construction site for an industrial area at around 9:30 local time Thursday. All of them were rescued but one of them was later pronounced dead, town officials said, as reported by The Mainichi.

Very heavy rain, in many places record-breaking, over the next few days will raise the danger of landslides and flooding, prompting officials to warn people to check for evacuation information from their local governments and move to safe places before conditions get worse. JMA is also advising people to avoid swollen rivers and irrigation canals, steep cliffs and other potential danger.

Drivers in urban areas are advised to be aware of the risk of flooding in road underpasses. Some rivers in Kyoto Prefecture and another in Hiroshima had already risen above flood warning levels, JMA added.

The below map shows the regions that are most likely to be affected by severe weather:

Japan's Kinki region, which includes Kyoto, Hyogo and Osaka prefectures, could be particularly hard-hit by downpours, escalating the risk of floods, landslides, lightning and tornadoes.

About 160 000 people living in the region have been advised to evacuate and several thousand ordered.

According to The Mainichi, hourly rain levels measured 58.5 mm (2.3 inches) in Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, and 51 mm (2 inches) in the Shiga Prefecture city of Maibara.

About 120 mm (4.7 inches) of rainfall was recorded in the Hirara district of Miyakojima, Okinawa Prefecture, over a 1-hour period up to 10:40 local time on July 5, the largest amount in about 50 years, according to the Miyakojima Local Meteorological Observatory.

The amount of rain over a 24-hour period up to 06:00 local time on July 6 is estimated to be up to 400 mm (15.7 inches) in the Tokai and Shikoku regions, 350 mm (13.7 inches) in the Kinki district, 300 mm (11.8 inches) in the Kanto-Koshin area and 250 mm (9.8 inches) in the Hokuriku region.

The seasonal rain front is expected to be stationary above the Honshu main island until around July 8.


July 6, 12:00 UTC

Three more people were found dead near rain-swollen rivers in Japan on July 6, officials said, adding that several people still remain missing.

The number of evacuation advisories and orders climbed to 210 000 today.

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) upgraded its warning to "special", the highest level, in southern Fukuoka, Saga and Nagasaki prefectures. The special warning is issued when the amount of rain is expected to be the highest in decades.

"Japan is seeing record heavy rainfall across a broad area," JMA official Ryuta Kurora said today. "The torrential rain will continue until the day after tomorrow," he said.

Yanase in Umaji village, Kochi prefecture, recorded 1 190 mm (46.85 inches) of rain in 72 hours, which is double the total amount that usually falls in the month of July.

July 7, 11:33 UTC

More than 37 people have been killed and over 50 are still missing. Read more

July 10, 10:00 UTC


More 200 dead or missing, as historic rainfall leaves authorities in a state of confusion, Japan. Read more

Featured image courtesy NHK

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