Japan Will See Torrential Rain & Disasters This Year

Another significant disaster occurred in Japan in July of this year, near the conclusion of the wet season. Northern Kyushu was hit by records-setting rainfall that resulted in overflowing rivers and landslides. The residents who did not manage to escape were killed. Others are still missing.

It is vital to put in every effort to aid the affected and prepare for the frequent rainfalls that are torrential.

On the 9th of July, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) predicted 200 millimeters of rain across Fukuoka and Saga prefectures. It also predicted 150 millimeters for Oita Prefecture in the 24 days that ended the night. However, some regions were struck somewhat challenging with over 400 millimeters of rainfall, leading the JMA to announce a severe rainfall alert in Fukuoka and Oita prefectures.

The reason for the much heavier-than-expected precipitation was a linear precipitation zone — a band of cumulonimbus clouds that move or stop over a specific area, deluging it with rain. This played a significant role in the 2017 torrential rain catastrophe in the western part of Japan and another one in 2020 in Kyushu.

Since the beginning of last year, the JMA has been trying to predict and release linear precipitation zones for at least one day ahead. However, they could not do so this time since it’s hard to know how zones develop and issue forecasts using current technology. Residents should be made conscious of the limitations.

It proved to be challenging to respond to a torrential downpour late at night. A few municipalities waited until dawn to announce evacuation instructions believing walking around at night could be unsafe. However, some residents were stuck by landslides a short time later.

Residents should be taught the possibility that “indoor evacuation” is an option and spread the word. Moving to a higher floor or a room facing a hill should definitely increase one’s survival chances.

According to JMA’s Meteorological Research Institute, the amount of rain that is believed to be the result of linear precipitation zones has increased 2.2 times over 45 years. The reason for this is caused by climate change.

The fact that torrential rains can hit everywhere in Japan has become less of a surprise. We all must adopt the most effective measures to safeguard ourselves.

Local and national authorities and businesses should work together and use all resources, such as equipment and technologies, to prevent the risk of catastrophes.


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