Reconnaissance report on geotechnical damage caused by a localized torrential downpour with emergency warning level in Kyushu, Japan

Toshifumi Mukunoki, Daisuke Suetsugu, Kazunari Sako, Satoshi Murakami, Yoshinori Fukubayashi, Ryohei Ishikura, Takenori Hino, Satoshi Sugimoto, Kota Wakinaka, Shinichi Ito, Atsushi Koyama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Kumamoto and Kogoshima prefectures are located in the southern Kyushu district of western Japan. In July 2020, a warm, humid air front triggered the delayed rains of the rainy season, resulting in torrential rains in many parts of Japan, especially in Kyushu. In particular, heavy downpours occurred in the southern Kyushu district on July 4th, causing severe damage to much of the infrastructure. Details could not be analyzed as usual because some branch office of local government were also damaged by floods. The spatial distribution of precipitation in the Kuma River basin, in the southern part of Kumamoto, was characterized by the uniformity of 400–500 mm on July 3rd and 4th. Finally, emergency warnings of torrential rain were issued for the southern Kumamoto and the northern Kagoshima Prefectures by Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) at 4:50 a.m., July 4th, 2020. Then, the active rain front gradually shifted towards northern Kyushu. Again, torrential rain fell on northern Kyushu in the afternoon due to a stagnant rainy season front, and the JMA issued an emergency warning for a localized torrential downpour for parts of Fukuoka, Saga and Nagasaki prefectures at 4:30 pm. Gradually, the damage status involving geodisasters such as several types of slope failures, road subsidence, damage of the river levee was reported by local governments in each area where there had been emergency warnings. Based on the brief report of the pre-investigation team from the Kyushu branch of the Japan Geotechnical Society (JGS) in the first week after the disaster on July 4th, the geo-research teams investigated the following: 1) landslides; 2) damaged roads; 3) damaged river levees, and 4) any geotechnical infrastructures which were partially damaged and may be even more severely damaged by the next torrential rain. This reconnaissance report introduces the geological features in Kyushu, the analysis of precipitation distribution and geotechnical damages on the slope failures, road failures and river embankments based on reports obtained from July 4th to August 31st, 2020.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)600-620
Number of pages21
JournalSoils and Foundations
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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