Heavy rain lashes Pacific coast of Japan, prompting highest level alert

Heavy rain lashed areas along the Pacific coast of Japan on Saturday, prompting a city in Kanagawa Prefecture to issue the highest level of evacuation alert for residents.

With a seasonal rain front bringing downpours in the Tokyo metropolitan area and the Tokai region in central Japan, bullet trains were briefly suspended in sections between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka stations, according to Central Japan Railway Co.

Due to rising rivers in Hiratsuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, the city government ordered local residents to ensure their safety immediately, becoming the first city to issue the highest level of evacuation alert under the revised basic counter disaster law.

The Meteorological Agency urged maximum caution and called on the public to be vigilant over mudslides, flooding and rising water levels in rivers.

In the 72-hour period through 11 a.m. Saturday, 780 millimeters of rainfall was recorded in Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture, and over 550 mm was logged in Gotemba, Shizuoka Prefecture, the agency said.

The seasonal rain front is forecast to move toward the Sea of Japan coast over the weekend, with wide areas along the coast expected to suffer torrential rain through Monday.

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Author: Shirley