A landslide dam in the Akatani district of Gojo, Nara Prefecture
With heavy rain predicted from Friday evening near landslide dams in Nara and Wakayama prefectures, the land ministry was calling for some residents to evacuate due to the possibility of further serious landslides and floods in their areas.
The dams were formed by landslides triggered by strong rains dumped by Typhoon No. 12 earlier this month.
According to the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry's Kinki Regional Development Bureau, water levels had not yet risen significantly behind two landslide dams deemed at particular risk in the Akatani district of Gojo, Nara Prefecture, and in the Iya district of Tanabe, Wakayama Prefecture.
However, the bureau said 10 to 30 millimeters of rain could lead to the dams breaking.
If the dam in the Akatani district breaks, a flow of mud and rocks about 300 meters wide could travel about 20 kilometers downstream, it said.
As a result, a nonbinding evacuation directive has been issued to 521 people in 270 households in the two prefectures. The ministry began building emergency water conduits in the Akatani and Iya districts on Friday afternoon.
There were also fears of a break in the Obatakedoro landslide dam that was created in the Nagai area of Totsukawamura, Nara Prefecture, as a result of massive rains in August 1889.
Evacuation advisories were issued Friday to 45 people in 21 households living below the dam in the Shigesato area of Totsukawamura. A total of 178 people in 92 households live in Shigesato.
The area saw only minimal landslides as a result of the heavy rain brought by Typhoon No. 12, prefectural authorities said.
According to the Meteorological Agency, Typhoon No. 15 was hovering near Okinawa Prefecture, pushing moist air up from the south toward the Kii Peninsula. This was expected to cause particularly heavy rain from Friday evening through Saturday evening.
Some areas of Nara and Wakayama prefectures may see as much as 300 millimeters of rain in the 24 hours to noon Saturday, the agency said.
(Sep. 17, 2011)