More than 1 million people in southern Japan were ordered to evacuate Wednesday because a month's worth of rain is expected in a single day.
From early June to late July, Japan traditionally experiences a rainy "baiu" season, as humid air from the south converges with cooler, drier air from the north. The Japanese island of Kyushu, inhabited by 13.3 million residents, is expected to be lashed by more than 350 millimeters (13.7 inches) of rain Thursday. Parts of Kagoshima prefecture, on Kyushu, could see more than 80 millimeters (3.1 inches) of rainfall per hour, forecasters warned. A number of places within the prefecture, which has a population of 1.6 million people, were at risk of landslides and flooding.
Directives are stronger than advisories, but there are no penalties if people do not comply. One woman died earlier this week due to a landslide in Kagoshima city. The rain also has flooded dozens of homes. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe tweeted that an additional 14,000 staff from the Japanese Defense Forces (SDF) have been deployed to assist emergency responders. Some parts of southern Kyushu have received up to 1,000mm of rain since last Friday. In Tokyo, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said residents should "take steps to protect their lives, including early evacuation" and he ordered the military to prepare for rescue operations if needed.