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Heaviest rainfall causes deadly flood in Japan

Three people were killed and three others are missing in flooding in southwest Japan caused by the region’s “heaviest” rain ever.

Rivers overflowed and hillsides collapsed as record amounts of rain were dumped on parts of Kyushu island.

The national weather agency logged 402.5mm falling in Kurume on Monday, the highest ever recorded in the city.
Roads and powerlines were cut, and thousands were ordered to evacuate as further downpours were expected.

Satoshi Sugimoto, of the Japanese Meteorological Agency, said he believed the downpours were “the heaviest ever experienced” in the region.

At least three people died in the flooding but the toll could rise, government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno told AFP news agency. Three people were missing in some of the remotest areas of the island.

“We express our condolences to those who died, and our heartfelt sympathy towards those who were affected by the disaster,” Mr Matsuno said.

According to him, the downpours prompted evacuation notices for hundreds of thousands of people and remote communities remain effectively cut off by flooding and other damage.

An elderly woman died when she was trapped in a house engulfed in mud in Soeda, Fukuoka province, local authorities said. Her husband survived. Another victim was apparently washed away by a flooded river while riding in a car in Kurume.

Japan is currently in its annual rainy season, which often brings heavy downpours, and sometimes results in flooding and landslides as well as casualties.

According to the Japanese Meteorological Agency, the heaviest rainfall recorded in Japan was in Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture, on 12 October, 2019, when 922.5mm fell in one day.

Scientists say climate change is intensifying the risk of heavy rain in Japan and elsewhere, because a warmer atmosphere holds more water.
The weather agency said it had already been raining for more than a week in the region before the heavy downpours that arrived Sunday night.

And while the sun was shining in many areas on Tuesday, officials have warned of more rain in the forecast, which could loosen already sodden ground.

Landslides are a particular risk in Japan during heavy rains because homes are often built on plains at the bottom of hillsides in the mountainous country.

Source: BBC

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