Shimane residents urged to evacuate amid heavy rain

Kyodo

Torrential rain damaged railroad lines and left one man missing in Shimane Prefecture on Saturday, prompting the Meteorological Agency to urge residents to evacuate and “take immediate action to protect life.”

Jugoro Takahashi, 86, disappeared in western town of Onan after going to inspect his rice field, the municipal office said.

The 36,766 residents in the area, which includes the cities of Gotsu and Hamada as well as the towns of Kawamoto and Tsuwano, were advised to evacuate after Gotsu saw 201 mm of rain fall in three hours, surpassing its average for the entire month.

The scope of the advisory declined later in the day, but several dozen houses in Gotsu were flooded, the Shimane Prefectural Government said. In addition, a house in Gotsu and one in Hamada were heavily damaged by mudslides, but no one was injured.

A railway bridge in Kawamoto, on the JR Sanko Line, forced JR West to suspend service to repair the tracks, the railroad said, cutting the prefecture off from Hiroshima.

In the meantime, the Meteorological Agency issued mudslide and river flooding advisories for western Japan on Sunday, warning that Yamaguchi Prefecture and the northern part of Kyushu may see rainfall as heavy as 70 mm per hour.

Up to 250 mm of rain is expected to fall in the 24-hour period through Sunday evening in the Chugoku region and northern Kyushu, the agency said.