TOKYO, Aug. 6 (Xinhua) -- Evacuation orders were issued to thousands of households in Yamagata Prefecture, northern Japan, as the region continues to be pummeled by heavy rain, local officials said Monday.
The torrential downpours have caused landslides and flooding and some homes have been inundated with rain, forcing their occupants to leave.
According to local officials, 2,000 households across five municipalities were ordered to evacuate owing to the heavy rain.
Almost 1,000 homes in the region were also advised to evacuate due to fears the main Mogami River in Yamagata may breach its banks.
Evacuees have been taking shelter at public buildings including schools, city officials said, with some 800 people becoming stranded in Tozawa village after a national road was blocked by a mudslide and fallen trees.
Tohoku Electric Power Co. said nearly 5,000 homes had been without electricity since Sunday and transportation services, including Shinkansen bullet train services, have been severely disrupted, East Japan Railway Co. said.
According to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) a lingering weather front has been responsible for the torrential downpours which started in the northern region of Tohoku on Sunday afternoon.
Moist air flowing toward the rain front covering the region has made the atmospheric pressure unstable, the JMA said, leading to record rainfall in the area.
Rainfall of more than 300 milliliters has been logged in some parts of Yamagata Prefecture in the 24-hour period to 9:00 a.m. local time, with 312 millimeters falling in the town of Kaneyama and 309.5 millimeters falling in the town of Mogami.
The JMA has warned that downpours in excess of 50 millimeters an hour may occur in the region over the next few hours.