Storms in Akita leave nearly 500 houses flooded but no deaths

Kyodo

Torrential rain over the weekend has left at least 485 houses flooded in Akita Prefecture and more than 20,000 residents under evacuation orders, the prefectural government said Monday.

No injuries or deaths, however, have been reported, the prefectural government said.

Part of the Akita Shinkansen Line was suspended Monday due to track damage caused by the weather, East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) said.

The Meteorological Agency predicted more intermittent heavy rain and thunder for the Tohoku region and the Hokuriku region along the Sea of Japan coast through Tuesday, due to a stalled rain front.

From Saturday to Sunday, over 300 mm of rain had been observed at multiple locations including the cities of Akita and Yokote.

In Daisen, one of the hardest-hit areas, an evacuation order for about 21,000 people — affecting some 8,200 households — remained in place. Akita Gov. Norihisa Satake said he is planning to ask for an increase in state financial support for recovery measures.

The heavy rain caused rivers to flood, which triggered a series of mudslides and flooding that left a number of houses were stranded by cutting off the roads.

Two day care centers in Akita and Daisen were closed Monday because of the flooding, while water was cut off to five cities, including Yurihonjo and Yokote, because of pipe damage.

In the meantime, Gov. Satake apologized the same day for missing Sunday’s emergency meeting on the disaster while golfing in neighboring Miyagi Prefecture.

“It was my mistake that I went out,” the governor said.

Satake said he went drinking Saturday after golfing with friends in Miyagi but could not drive back under the influence of alcohol, even though he had learned about the heavy rain in Akita.

The governor said he headed to Akita on Sunday morning but couldn’t make it to the meeting because he got caught in heavy traffic.