Saturday 19 August 2017

Eleven injured by landslide in Gifu Prefecture, Japan.

Eleven people have been injured, three of them seriously, after a landslide hit a section of the Chuo Expressway in Mizunami, Gifu Prefecture, Japan, at about 9.30 pm local time on Friday 18 August 2017. The event buried a section of the road over sixty meters long in debris up to a meter depth, strikingfour vehicles, three cars and a truck, with all of the injured being inside these vehicles. The event happened after several days of heavy rain in the area. Landslides are a common problem after severe weather, as excess pore water pressure can overcome cohesion in soil and sediments, allowing them to flow like liquids. Approximately 90% of all landslides are caused by heavy rainfall.

 Clean up operation following the 18 August 2017 Mizunami landslide. The Mainichi.

This August has been the wettest in Japan for 40 years, with many central parts of the country experiencing sixteen straight days of rain, and Gifu Prefecture receiving over a 100 mm of rain on Thursday alone. This has bee driven by an area of high pressure over the Sea of Okhotsk (the Okhotsk High), which forms each summer, bringing cool moisture-laden winds to Japan, Korea and the Russian Far East, and which has been exceptionally strong this year.

The approximate location of the 18 August 2017 Mizunami landslide. Google Maps.

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Chuo Expressway in Gifu Prefecture
Chuo Expressway in Gifu Prefecture