Japan Severe Weather

10 Jul 2018

Heavy Rainfall Causes Significant Flooding and Landslides in Western Regions

As of late July 9, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) has maintained warnings for heavy rains in parts of Honshu, including Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, Okayama, Aichi and Tochigi prefectures. Officials have also issued thunderstorm and heavy rain advisories for surrounding areas across much of the rest Honshu, Kyushu, Shikokku and Hokkaido, as well as the Okinawa and Amami island groups. The recent heavy rainfall has caused flash flooding and landslides in western Japan, especially in Hiroshima and Okayama prefectures. Localised accumulations of up to 58 cm (23 inches) have been reported. While meteorologists have said that the worst downpours have abated, forecasts indicate up to 25 cm (10 inches) of rainfall could occur in some areas through July 9, prolonging the threat of flooding and landslides. At least 100 fatalities have been linked to the severe weather, primarily in Hiroshima, and to a lesser degree, Ehime, and Okayama; the casualty count will continue to rise in the coming days as at least 50 more people remain missing.

Analysis: Reports indicate that more than 30,000 people have been forced to relocate to evacuation centres as of July 8. Officials said they have issued evacuation orders or advisories to more than 5.9 million people in 19 prefectures since the severe weather began around July 5. Further evacuations are possible elsewhere if hazardous conditions persist. Authorities have deployed around 54,000 personnel for rescue and recovery operations. Roads throughout the region have closed due to inundations; some rail services - including Shinkansen lines - have been temporarily suspended while crews clear tracks. Sustained severe weather could trigger additional localised business, transport, and utility disruptions in affected areas.

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