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Early Typhoon Brings Torrential Rains and Deadly Flooding to Japan

Fukuoka Oita Heavy Rains 2017

Caption: “Record-Breaking Rain In Kyushu — 7 dead in Fukuoka and Oita Prefectures.” Screencap from ANN News Network official YouTube channel.

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.

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.

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.

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.

UPDATE: 6 missing — Fukuoka Police. Northern Kyushu receives record-breaking rain.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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