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Hundreds evacuate in western Japan as rainy season sets in

hundreds-evacuate-in-western-japan-as-rainy-season-sets-in

Parts of western Japan were inundated by torrential rain early June 7, 2019, forcing hundreds of people to evacuate and disrupting transportation services. The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said that warm, humid air moving toward a low-pressure system is causing very unstable atmospheric conditions on the Pacific coast of western and central Japan.

Local media reports that 775 people were forced to escape to the shelters as of 01:00 UTC on June 7 in Hiroshima Prefecture, followed by a level 4 out of 5 evacuation orders, due to the potential of flooding and mudslides in the region caused by heavy rains. As of 00:00 UTC on June 7, advisories had been issued for four municipalities in Hiroshima Prefecture, extending to 224 036 people in 98 224 households, JMA said.

Similar warnings were issued in Yamaguchi and Ehime prefectures, where residents were also urged to seek shelter away from the heavy downpours and potential floods and mudslides, Xinhua reported.

Through the morning of June 7, 12-hour rainfall period exceeded 200 mm (7.87 inches) in Umaji village in Kochi Prefecture, the JMA said, while in the town of Taragi in Kumamoto Prefecture, 170 mm (6.7 inches) of rain was recorded.

In Hiroshima Prefecture, transportation networks were severely disrupted, with JR Sanyo Line services suspended in the early morning of June 7, due to parts of the tracks being flooded. The suspension affected around 15 000 people as 23 trains along the service were either suspended or severely delayed, said West Japan Railway Co, according to Xinhua.

Also in the region, Sanyo Shinkansen bullet train services and some smaller JR and private train lines were also temporarily suspended, wreaking havoc on commuters trying to get to work, as well as those looking to travel further afield by bullet train.

The JMA declared that rainy season has started across wide swathes of eastern, central and northeastern Japan on June 7.

Featured image: Ventusky

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