ASAKURA • Japanese rescue crew took advantage of a break in the weather yesterday to search for survivors of torrential rain, floods and landslides, as the death toll from several days of freak weather rose to 16, the NHK state broadcaster reported.
The authorities warned of more downpours over the weekend, compounding the misery that the summer storms have brought to south- west Japan since Wednesday.
Some neighbourhoods have been devastated by flooding and landslides, and rescue workers and residents have been picking their way through expanses of broken, waterlogged trees, branches and mud.
Asakura was pounded by more than 600mm of rain in the 24 hours to 5am yesterday, according to Japan's weather agency.
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Heavy machinery was used to clear almost knee-deep mud from streets. A police dog was hunting for victims in flooded homes, many now clogged with debris.
The weather agency said 150mm of rain was forecast to fall in industrialised Northern Kyushu in the 24 hours to 6am today. Some places have seen more rain in a matter of hours than they usually get in the whole month of July.
The rain has been caused by a low pressure over the Pacific that has been feeding into moist air into Japan's seasonal rainy front.
Meanwhile, in China, the meteorological agency issued warnings yesterday for more torrential rain in parts of the country, including Chongqing, Yunnan and Guangdong. Scores of people have already been killed as vast swathes were inundated last week.
The National Meteorological Centre (NMC) yesterday also issued an orange alert for a heatwave in other parts of the country, including Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Hebei, Henan, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Hubei and Shandong. These regions could see temperatures surpass 40 deg C.