On Saturday, July 4, authorities in southwest Japan issued evacuation orders to 76,600 residents in Kumamoto and Kagoshima prefectures amid heavy rains, floods, and mudslides. Dozens of people have been stranded and at least 13 others are reported missing. The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) has issued red alerts (second-highest on a three-point-scale) for heavy rain in the two prefectures, as well as throughout southwestern and central Japan. The city of Amakusa saw precipitation of 98 millimeters per hour, an all-time high, and the Kuma river in Kumamoto prefecture reportedly burst its banks, causing extensive flooding. The Japanese Self Defense Forces (JSDF) have been deployed to aid in disaster relief. Several bridges have reportedly been washed away, and Shinkansen bullet train services have been suspended in the affected prefectures.
Heavy rain is expected to affect most of Japan through Sunday, with the worst weather concentrated in the west of the country. Disruptions to travel and utilities are to be anticipated in the coming days as a result of the adverse weather.
Individuals in the affected areas are advised to monitor local weather reports, anticipate transportation disruptions, avoid areas directly affected by flooding, confirm road conditions before setting out, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities. Avoid walking or driving through floodwaters.
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