Torrential rain has hit Hiroshima Prefecture in western Japan, causing landslides and flooding. Heavy rain is also falling in Nagasaki Prefecture and other parts of western Japan.
The Meteorological Agency says warm, damp air has flowed from the south towards the front over the Sea of Japan. Officials say this has caused unstable atmospheric conditions in western Japan. Localized rain clouds have developed in the Chugoku region and northern Kyushu.
Record heavy precipitation of 204 millimeters in 3 hours was observed in Hiroshima City on Wednesday morning, surpassing the total monthly average for August.
18 people, including a 2-year-old child, are dead.
Firefighters are also trying to establish the whereabouts of about 13 residents after landslides.
The rain has softened the ground in some regions of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Fukuoka and Saga prefectures, raising the possibility of landslides.
Weather officials are warning people to be on the alert for landslides and flooding as well as lightning and gusts.