‘Historic’ Rainfall in Japan Forces Hundreds of Thousands to Flee Homes

Some 210,000 people were ordered to evacuate their homes this week in western and central Japan as torrential rain caused widespread flooding and landslides, killing four people, Reuters reported. The Japan Meteorological Agency called the rainfall “historic” and warned it would continue for several more days.

Parts of Honshu, Japan’s largest island, had received twice the amount of rain by the morning of July 6 as the island normally gets in the entire month of July. In addition to the required evacuations, an additional 2 million people were advised to leave their homes, according to Reuters.

Japan’s rainy season typically falls from mid-June into July, but warm, humid air flowing toward the country from the Pacific Ocean has intensified this year’s rain events. Remnants of a dissipated typhoon in the region have also contributed to the heavy flooding. Meteorologists warn that another typhoon, Maria, currently forming deep in the Pacific, could strengthen to a Category 4 storm that is on track to hit southern Japan next week.