Record rainfall hits southwestern Japan, leaving 3 people dead - Level 4 Emergency Alert

Record rainfall hits southwestern Japan, leaving 3 people dead - Level 4 Emergency Alert

Record rains struck Northern Kyushu on August 27 and 28, 2019, and continue to devastate parts of Southwestern Japan, killing at least 3 people and triggering evacuation orders for around 870 000 residents. 1.9 million were advised to evacuate. Parts of the region saw record hourly and 24-hour rainfall totals. The Japan Meteorological Agency said the torrential rain was at the level the region has never experienced before.​

Authorities placed Fukuoka, Saga, and Nagasaki prefectures under Level 4 Emergency Alert due to mudslides, flooding, and raging rivers. As of August 28, 2019, at 06:30 UTC (15:30 local time), evacuations were ordered to hundreds of thousands of people following the unstable weather.

"It is a situation where you should do your best to protect your lives," weather agency official Yasushi Kajiwara stated earlier in a news conference.

The Fire and Disaster Management Agency (FDMA) found a dead man trapped in a car that was swept away by floods in Takeo City, Saga Prefecture. Another man was also killed while trying to escape a vehicle stuck in floodwaters. A third victim in Saga is under cardiorespiratory arrest, said government spokesperson Yoshihide Suga.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said the torrential rain was at the level the region has never experienced before.

In just one hour, Saga City recorded 110 mm (4.3 inches) and Shiroishi 109.5 mm (4.4 inches) - record hourly rainfall totals.

In 24 hours to 08:00 LT on August 28, Saga City recorded 388.5 mm (15.2 inches) and Hirado 434 mm (17 inches); both are record 24-hour rainfall totals for the cities.

"There are many reports of damage in different areas due to flooding of rivers, landslides, and submerged houses, and there is a possibility of serious damage occurring in the coming hours," Suga said.

West Japan Railway Co. and national railway operator JR Kyushu announced suspensions of train services for public safety. Toyota Motor Co. in Fukuoka halted auto-parts production, while Canon Inc. in Nagasaki also paused the day's operations. Furthermore, Panasonic Corp. and Bridgestone Corp. also reported respectively that their operations were also affected by the catastrophic weather.

JMA expects the heavy rainfall to continue throughout Wednesday and Thursday, forecasting up to 150 mm (5.9 inches) of rainfall. 

Featured image credit: Nippon

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