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More landslide, flood warnings as heavy rain lashes wide area of Japan

A landslide blocks National Route No. 156 in Gujo, Gifu Prefecture, on July 4, 2018. (Photo courtesy of the Gifu Prefectural Government)

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) has warned of landslides, swollen rivers and floods in extensive areas across Japan as heavy rain, which left at least one person dead in western Japan, is expected to last until around the weekend.

A low pressure system and an active rain front brought heavy rain to wide areas from western to eastern Japan on July 5 even after Typhoon Prapiroon was downgraded to an extra-tropical cyclone, the JMA said.

In Inagawa, Hyogo Prefecture, three workers were swept away in a drain at a construction site for an industrial area at around 9:30 a.m. All of them were rescued but one of them was later pronounced dead, town officials said. One of the three was initially swept away in the swollen drain and two other were also washed away as they apparently attempted to rescue him.

Evacuation advisories were issued to about 160,000 people in the Kinki region. Evacuation orders were issued to residents in Ibaraki, Osaka Prefecture, which is near the epicenter of the June 18 magnitude-6.1 quake, as well as Kobe's Chuo Ward. A total of 137 people in 58 households in the Kamiotowa district of Ibaraki were ordered to flee.

A landslide occurred in the Nakaocho district of Kobe's Chuo Ward on a slope at the back of a house near Shin-Kobe Station on the Sanyo Shinkansen Line, prompting local authorities to order 17 people in 11 households nearby to evacuate.

Evacuation orders were issued to 293 people in 90 households in the Gifu Prefecture city of Gero, and 92 people were taking shelter on July 5. On the same city, evacuation recommendations were issued to 1,514 people in 503 households.

In the prefectural city of Gujo, 2,947 people in 1,082 households were advised to prepare to evacuate and for elderly people to begin to flee.

The swollen Kamo River is seen following heavy rain near the Sanjo Ohashi Bridge in Kyoto on July 5, 2018. (Mainichi)

In the prefecture, 229 elementary, junior high and other schools, 39 high and special needs schools and 15 kindergartens were closed. A total of 147 other schools and kindergartens asked students to stand by at home or classes were called off. Lessons at 18 schools were cancelled in Aichi Prefecture.

Warm and wet air was blowing toward an extra-tropical cyclone to which Typhoon Prapiroon was downgraded to as well as the seasonal rain front, as a result of which the rain front was activated, destabilizing the atmosphere in extensive areas from western to eastern Japan, according to the JMA.

Hourly rain levels measured 58.5 millimeters in Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, and 51 millimeters in the Shiga Prefecture city of Maibara. About 120 millimeters of rainfall was recorded in the Hirara district of Miyakojima, Okinawa Prefecture, over a 1-hour period up to 10:40 a.m. on July 5, the largest amount in about 50 years, according to the Miyakojima Local Meteorological Observatory.

The amount of rain over a 24-hour period up to 6 a.m. on July 6 is estimated to be up to 400 millimeters in the Tokai and Shikoku regions, 350 millimeters in the Kinki district, 300 millimeters in the Kanto-Koshin area and 250 millimeters in the Hokuriku region.

The seasonal rain front is expected to be stationary above the Honshu main island until around July 8, possibly bringing heavy rain to areas along the Pacific coast in western and eastern Japan.

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