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9 rivers overflow banks as heavy rain strikes north Japan

The Nakamura River is seen swollen and muddy following heavy rain in the town of Ajigasawa, Aomori Prefecture, on Aug. 10, 2022. (Mainichi/Yushi Ezawa)

Heavy rain from a stagnant front continued to lash north Japan's Akita and Aomori prefectures on Aug. 10, flooding hundreds of buildings as nine rivers overflowed their banks.

    According to the Aomori Prefectural Government and other sources, seven rivers overflowed their banks in five municipalities in the prefecture, including in the town of Ajigasawa and the city of Goshogawara. In Ajigasawa, water from the Nakamura River flowed into a residential area spanning some 436,700 square meters, and at least 445 buildings were flooded, but no injuries were confirmed.

    The 37-year-old manager of a bento store was seen scooping mud out of his shop on Aug. 10. Marks left on the shop walls showed the floodwater had reached past waist height. Though he had received more than 100 orders for the obon holiday period in mid-August, it has become impossible to respond as the shop's cooking equipment cannot be used. The manager painfully said, "Though it's unclear how long the rain will continue, I'd like to rebuild my business by clearing things up little by little."

    According to the government of neighboring Akita Prefecture, the Mitane River in the town of Mitane and the Haneyamazawa River in the city of Kitaakita overflowed their banks, and rice paddies in the vicinity flooded. The Mitane town government issued an alert for people to take "emergency safety measures," the highest of Japan's five levels of weather disaster warnings. A total of two buildings in the city of Oga and the town of Happo were flooded below floor level as of 3 p.m. on Aug. 10.

    Train operations were suspended on multiple lines in the region, including most of the section between Akita and Aomori stations on the JR Ou Line.

    Total precipitation since the rain began on Aug. 8 in the Aomori Prefecture town of Fukaura had reached 354.5 millimeters as of 5 p.m. on Aug. 10, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) -- around double the normal level seen there in the entire month of August.

    The weather front is expected to temporarily weaken around Aug. 14 but become active again from around Aug. 15.

    The JMA said that a tropical cyclone south of Japan is expected to develop into a typhoon and come very close to east Japan between the night of Aug. 12 and 13. The agency is calling on people in east Japan to be on their guard against heavy rain.

    (Japanese original by Ikuko Ando and Hironori Tsuchie, Tokyo City News Department; Yushi Ezawa, Aomori Bureau; and Marika Inomori, Akita Bureau)

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