At least seven people are dead and dozen are missing, and at least 1,000 people have been evacuated from their homes following “once in a lifetime” torrential rains in Japan since July 4 in the wake of Tropical Storm Nanmadol and a seasonal rain front that continues to hang over the western Japanese island of Kyushu. With dozens still missing and rains forecasted to continue into the weekend, the death toll will likely rise.
Downpours of at least 55 centimeters have been recorded in Asakura City, Fukuoka Prefecture, since Wednesday, July 5—about 50 percent more than usual for the month of July. So far the hardest-hit communities have been Asakura in Fukuoka Prefecture, where at six are dead following landslides, and Hita, in neighboring Oita Prefecture, where flooding has swept away roads and railway lines and left hundreds stranded.
— 毎日新聞写真部 (@mainichiphoto) July 5, 2017
Localities in northern Kyushu are all receiving record amounts of precipitation. A special weather warning from Japan's national meteorological service has been issued for 16 communities in Fukuoka and 15 in Oita. This is the first time a special weather warning has ever been issued for Kyushu since the warning was put into effect in 2013.
As torrential, record-breaking rains continued throughout the week, the military was mobilized in order to evacuate thousands, and search for survivors.
【豪雨 6000人規模で救助本格化】福岡・大分両県では早朝から自衛隊、警察、消防が救出活動を本格化。陸自が福岡県朝倉市で豪雨で孤立した地区の救助活動を開始。 https://t.co/kiEFevQUXX
— Yahoo!ニュース (@YahooNewsTopics) July 5, 2017
Rescue and relief operation out into place to help 6,000 affected by flooding — In the early hours of July 5, police, military and fire rescue personnel have been deployed in rescue operation. Japanese Land Self-Defense Forces have begun operations to help people stranded due to heavy flooding in Asakura City, in Fukuoka.
A challenge in the initial days was that the chaos of widespread flooding made rescuing survivors difficult.
— ぴこ (@ek2eoiNcRUqmnMI) July 5, 2017
Daily life has been disrupted in Yamada, in Asakura City in Fukuoka Prefecture. Houses in my neighborhood have mostly been swept away. Seven people who have taken refuge on the second story of a factory here have been unable to be evacuated and have been left behind. If the local firefighters can't get in… I just hope someone can help us.
— 朝日新聞デジタル編集部 (@asahicom) July 5, 2017
UPDATE: 6 missing — Fukuoka Police. Northern Kyushu receives record-breaking rain.
— 産経ニュース (@Sankei_news) July 5, 2017
Western Honshu and Kyushu experience another round of heavy rain fronts as Oita issues a warning of torrential rains. “This amount of rain is very rare.”
Some of the most striking images of the disaster came from Yamada, in the city of Asakura, in Fukuoka Prefecture. Raging rivers swept piles of debris into the center of the community, blocking roads and hampering rescue operations.
— 朝日新聞 映像報道部 (@asahi_photo) July 5, 2017
Yamada Ward, in Asakura City in Fukuoka. Route 386 has been blocked by flood-borne logs and driftwood.
In Oita Prefecture, a rail line and bridges were washed away, and thousands of residents were left stranded.
— 産経ニュースＷＥＳＴ (@SankeiNews_WEST) July 5, 2017
As a result of once in a lifetime flooding, more than 300,000 people have been evacuated and 6 children are missing. Flooding in northern Kyushu hits Asakura, Uki, Kurume in Fukuoka Prefecture.
The rains affected northern Kyushu the most, where some areas in Fukuoka and Oita Prefectures (shaded in purple in the map in the tweet below) received over 50 centimeters of precipitation.
— ウェザーニュース (@wni_jp) July 5, 2017
Oita: As of 19:55 (on July 5), a special warning for torrential rains has been announced.
The weather pattern was extremely unusual for Japan, combining the effects of the seasonal rain front and the remnants of a large tropical storm to drop torrents of rain on Kyushu.
【豪雨 1万5000mの巨大積乱雲】九州北部を襲った豪雨では、福岡県朝倉市の上空に巨大な積乱雲が連続して発生していた。線状降水帯が長時間とどまり被害拡大か。 https://t.co/KoGIexkPsX
— Yahoo!ニュース (@YahooNewsTopics) July 7, 2017
Giant cumulonimbus clouds 15 kilometers high deliver torrential rains — As northern Kyushu is assaulted by torrential rains, a procession of giant cumolonimbus clouds appear over Asakura City. There are worries that (continual) bands of heavy precipitation will increase destruction from flooding.
By Friday, July 7, as the rains continued, so did rescue operations in a desperate struggle to find survivors of mud slides and flooding.
— 共同通信写真部 (@kyodo_photo) July 6, 2017
As Fukuoka and Oita continued to experience record-breaking flooding on July 6, search-and-rescue operations by the Japan Self-Defense Forces and emergency personnel continued. This photograph was taken in Asakura City, in Fukuoka.
— 読売新聞写真部 (@tshashin) July 6, 2017
It's become apparent there has been massive destruction. This photograph was taken in Haki, in Asakura City in Fukuoka Prefecture. The Akatani River has carried along the aftermath of a mudslide and flooding debris.
As of Friday, July 7, rain was still forecast for Kyushu and western Japan.
【きょうの天気は？】西日本では大雨になる所があるでしょう。九州や中国、四国は雨が降ったりやんだりで、九州を中心に非常に激しい雨が降りそうです。土砂災害や低い土地の浸水、川の氾濫などに、引き続き警戒してください。（7日 6:06 更新） pic.twitter.com/c6X9xXarC1
— ＮＨＫ生活・防災 (@nhk_seikatsu) July 6, 2017
What's today's weather? Parts of western Japan will see heavy rains. Kyushu and the Chugoku region, and Shikoku will patches of rain; central Kyushu will see extremely heavy rain. Warnings have been continued for landslides, lowland flooding and cresting rivers.