Eastern Japan hit by record-breaking rainWeather officials have put eastern and northeastern Japan on the highest level of alert for flooding amid record-breaking rainfall.
On Thursday morning, the Meteorological Agency issued heavy rain emergency warnings in Tochigi and Ibaraki prefectures, northeast of Tokyo.
In parts of Tochigi Prefecture, over 500 millimeters, of rain has fallen in 24 hours. That's about double the amount that typically falls in the region for all of September. Several places in the prefecture have broken records for rainfall.
Parts of Ibaraki have also seen record-setting rain of nearly 300 millimeters over 48 hours.
In Fukushima prefecture, 48-hour precipitation topped 300 millimeters, the heaviest rainfall there in 50 years.
Flooding and landslides have been reported in many places and evacuation orders have been issued for many communities.
Weather officials are advising people in the affected areas to remain on the alert. They warn that heavy rain and stormy weather will continue through Friday.
The cause is a low-pressure system derived from Tropical storm Etau, which brought heavy rain over wide areas of Japan the previous day.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says unprecedented heavy rain is expected to continue in some places. He said the government places top priority on ensuring the safety of people's lives.