Torrential rain triggered floods and landslides in western Japan. Authorities in Hiroshima and the northern part of Kyushu issued their highest evacuation alert as the weather agency reported unprecedented levels of rain in the area on Saturday. More than 5 million residents in Japan have been ordered to evacuate their homes. One million was under Level 5 alert warning.The Level 4 warning was issued to 17 prefectures. “Unprecedented levels of heavy rain have been observed,” Yushi Adachi, a meteorological agency official, told media in Tokyo. The rains triggered a mudslide Friday in the city of Unzen in Nagasaki prefecture, burying four people. One of them was killed. Another mudslide in Hiroshima late Friday left one person seriously injured. Firefighters and other emergency workers were rescuing stranded residents, loading them onto inflatable boats.
Some cities on the southern island of Kuyshu recorded more than 40 millimeters (about 1.6 inches) of water in one hour on Saturday. Up to 250 millimeters (9.8 inches) could fall on the island in the 24 hours through Sunday morning. Water levels are still rising in several rivers, threatening to overflow. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga tweeted on Friday that he had set up a disaster control center to coordinate nationwide. Meteorological authority said in a statement that the rain front could stay over the country for about a week. Scientists say the climate crisis is intensifying the risk of heavy rain in Japan and elsewhere, because a warmer atmosphere holds more water.