Heavy rain hits Hokkaido and Kyushu, scorching heat intensifies elsewhere

Extreme downpours are hitting parts of northern Japan, while scorching heat intensifies in other areas.

The Japan Meteorological Agency says a front extending from a low pressure system over the Sea of Japan is bringing heavy rainfall to Hokkaido, Tohoku in the north and Kyushu to the west.

Rainfall in the hour up to 10 a.m. Friday reached 45.5 millimeters in the city of Noboribetsu in Hokkaido. Hourly rain of 50 millimeters or more could hit Hokkaido through Friday evening and in northern Kyushu through Saturday noon. Total rainfall in the 24 hours through Saturday morning could reach up to 180 millimeters in Hokkaido, 120 millimeters in northern Kyushu, and 100 millimeters in the central region of Chugoku.

Weather officials are advising caution against mudslides, flooding of low-lying areas and swollen rivers. They say people in Hokkaido should watch out for gusty winds.

Meanwhile, daytime temperatures topped 35 degrees Celsius in parts of western and eastern Japan on Friday.

Weather officials say sweltering conditions may continue through next week in the inland parts of the Kanto-koshin region, with the mercury reaching 35 degrees or higher.

Officials are urging people to stay hydrated and use air conditioners properly to avoid heatstroke, as most people are still unaccustomed to the summer heat.