Torrential rainfall in southwestern Japan has caused devastating flooding and mudslides, leaving at least six dead, five missing and 19 injured, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency on Tuesday.
Four people died in the Kyushu region of Japan and two people in the Chugoku region.
Japan’s Kyushu region has experienced heavy rainfall since the beginning of the month, and Monday saw record levels, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.
Japan’s weather agency on Monday issued emergency heavy rain warnings for the prefectures of Fukuoka and Oita, on Kyushu, the country’s third-largest island.
Since Friday, some parts of Fukuoka have received more than 600 millimeters (23.6 in) of rain, more than the area would normally expect for all of July, Reuters reported.
“It is raining like never before,” Japan’s Meteorological Service said in a statement Monday, calling on residents to be on maximum vigilance. The warning was later downgraded to a standard warning.
Japan is not the only country currently struggling with heavy rainfall.
Northern India has experienced heavy rainfall that has caused deadly flooding and landslides, killing at least 22 people. On Sunday, Delhi experienced its wettest day in more than four decades, with 153 millimeters of rain.
In the US, heavy rains and flash floods have killed at least one person in southeastern New York. More than four million people were warned of flooding in the Northeast on Tuesday, including parts of New York, Vermont, Massachusetts and Maine.
While heavy rainfall will always happen, scientists say climate change means they’re getting more intense.
“The increasing intensity of heavy rainfall and associated flooding, such as the one we are currently witnessing, is an expected consequence of a warming climate due to our greenhouse gas emissions,” said Richard Allan, a professor of climate science at the British University. . of reading.
A warmer atmosphere can hold more water, leading to more intense rainfall as it falls.
As the planet warms, it is expected that we will see “increasingly intense, more frequent, more torrential downpours, which will also lead to more severe flooding,” said Stefan Uhlenbrook, director of hydrology, water and cryosphere at the World Meteorological Organization.
It’s not possible to say exactly when and where extreme rainfall will occur, Uhlenbrook told CNN. But what is clear is that the vulnerability of societies will be different — with poorer countries often more exposed, he added.
“Countries like Japan are extremely alert, and they are also very well prepared when it comes to flood protection,” Uhlenbrook said. “So even if it happens more often, they can probably handle this much better than low-income countries where there are no warnings, no flood defences. [and] no integrated flood management plans.”
CNN’s Tara Subramaniam, Manveena Suri, Lauren Mascarenhas and Nouran Salahieh contributed to the reporting.
For more CNN news and newsletters, create an account on CNN.com