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    Death Toll Rises From Hiroshima Landslide

    By By Brian Lada, Meteorologist
    August 23, 2014, 11:31:37 PM EDT

    Rescue efforts are underway in Hiroshima, Japan, after several landslides buried people alive and caused severe property damage on Wednesday morning, local time.

    At least 39 people are dead and several others are still missing, according to the Japan Times, after a wall of mud, rock and debris raced down the mountainside and slammed directly into suburban homes.

    The number of fatalities may rise as rescue efforts and cleanup continue.

    The Associated Press also reported that rescue workers suspended from helicopters were pulling victims from the rubble as they searched homes in the affected area.

    The Hiroshima Prefectural Government has requested the aid of the Ground Self-Defense Forces for rescue operations and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has instructed government bodies to make all-out efforts to rescue those affected, said The Japan Times.

    The landslides occurred after heavy rain soaked the area on Tuesday into Wednesday.

    The Japan Meteorological Agency reported that 217.5 mm (8.54 inches) of rain fell in just a three-hour period, 101.0 mm (3.98 inches) of which fell in just one hour.

    This substantial amount of rain set a new all-time record in Hiroshima for the amount of rain in a three-hour period, more than doubling the old record of 101 mm set on Aug. 5, 1997.

    A new 24-hour rainfall record was also set for Hiroshima with 257 mm (10.12 inches) breaking the old record of 234 mm (9.21 inches) set on July 3, 1995.

    More showers and thunderstorms are forecast to move over the Hiroshima area through Friday which can dampen cleanup efforts.

    "Some of the rain will be heavy with 1 to 2 inches possible, and locally 4 inches in the mountains," AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Adam Douty said.

    Saturday will be mostly dry with just an isolated shower or thunderstorm, Douty said. Occasional rain, with locally heavy amounts, and thunderstorms are possible Sunday into Tuesday.

    It is possible that this additional rainfall could trigger more landslides in the area.

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