Torrential rain in southwestern Japan has left three people dead and one missing, while more than 1,900 people stayed at evacuation centers Thursday morning.

A 96-year-old woman was found dead at a flooded house in Takeo, Saga Prefecture early Thursday, a day after the rains caused flooding of roads and triggered landslides. The weather agency continued to warn of downpours in Kyushu that could cause further landslides and flooding of rivers.

The Japan Meteorological Agency also said heavy rainfall accompanied by lightning may hit wide areas from western to northern Japan through Friday.

In Omachi, Saga Prefecture, Juntendo hospital was isolated due to flooding, with 215 people including patients becoming stranded, according to the prefectural government. Local governments are gathering information on the situation.

On Wednesday, two people were confirmed dead in Saga and Fukuoka prefectures, while one went missing and another remained unconscious in Saga.

More than 1,900 people in five prefectures in the Kyushu region and Yamaguchi Prefecture in western Japan were still staying at evacuation centers as of Thursday morning, the central government said.

In Saga, a number of vehicles were also seen submerged and JR Saga Station was flooded.

"It usually takes about five minutes to come to the station from my home, but (today) it took me an hour as it was difficult to walk in water up to my knees," said 56-year-old Takaaki Matsuo.

Fukuoka, Saga and Nagasaki prefectures issued evacuation instructions to around 870,000 residents at one point after the weather agency issued its maximum level-5 warning for floods and landslides in the northern Kyushu region, with precipitation levels approaching their highest levels in decades.

The maximum level-5 warning was lifted later in the day but the agency said it might be reissued depending on weather conditions.

As landslides occurred and both the Ushizu River in the cities of Ogi and Taku and the Matsuura River in Imari burst their banks, Saga Gov. Yoshinori Yamaguchi requested that the Self-Defense Forces be dispatched to provide disaster relief.

The Cabinet Office said the Disaster Relief Act has been applied to all municipalities in Saga Prefecture, which allows the national and prefectural governments to provide financial assistance for local evacuation centers and other emergency measures.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the government has already sent an aid team to Saga Prefecture and ordered at a Cabinet meeting to supply necessary goods regardless of formal requests.

Kyushu Railway Co. canceled some services, mainly in the three prefectures severely affected.

The city of Saga received 110 millimeters of rain and the same prefecture's town of Shiroishi saw 109.5 mm in a one-hour period, according to the agency.

For the 24 hours through 6 p.m. Thursday, the agency forecast up to 150 mm of rain in the northern Kyushu and Tokai regions, 120 mm in the Chugoku and Hokuriku regions and 100 mm in the Kanto-Koshin region, which includes Tokyo, and the Kinki region that includes Osaka.

(As of 11:47 a.m. Aug. 29)
[Source: Japan Meteorological Agency]