Events rescheduled as Nepartak nears Tokyo Olympics
As if heat and the pandemic aren't challenging enough — Japan is now bracing for a tropical storm to hit in the middle of the Tokyo Olympics.
The 2020 Summer Olympic Games are officially underway in Tokyo, Japan, but a tropical storm heading straight for the island nation may make its presence known during the Summer Games' first full week of competition.
A tropical depression formed Friday morning, local time, north-northeast of Guam and the Mariana Islands, and continued to strengthen, eventually becoming Tropical Storm Nepartak late Friday, local time.
As of Tuesday evening, local time, Tropical Storm Nepartak had 10-minute sustained winds of 46 mph (74 km/h) and was almost stationary, moving slightly west-northwest. The storm was about 140 miles east of Tokyo.
This satellite image, captured around midday, local time, on Tuesday, shows Nepartak approaching Japan. (RAMMB/CIRA)
Through the middle of the week, the storm is forecast to continue moving to the northwest, eventually impacting central and northern Honshu, Japan's main island.
"Enhanced rain, winds and rough surf will impact areas generally to the north of Tokyo through Tuesday night, local time," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Rob Richards said. "This will have some impacts on the Olympics ongoing in Tokyo."
The Olympic Games kicked off on Friday, July 23, and will continue until Sunday, Aug. 8. Gusty rain showers could continue to impact the games into Wednesday.
Nepartak is not forecast to strengthen into a typhoon, but the southern edges of the storm could have impacts on the events taking place in Tokyo as well as some other events taking place across central and northern Japan.
"Some rain will occur in Tokyo, but winds will not be an issue with them being sustained at 10-20 mph with gusts to 25 mph," Richards said.
The impacts in Tokyo and its surrounding areas are forecast to be minor, whereas more rain is expected around Sendai, which is about 225 miles north of Tokyo. Richards said the overall impacts to the Olympics are "not a major situation."
He said any significant delays in the games brought on by the storm are unlikely, but some water sports that take place outdoors, particularly in the ocean, could risk a postponement.
Organizers rescheduled rowing events due to inclement weather, from Monday to Sunday, according to ESPN, in anticipation of the wet weather.
Water sports could become very dangerous as Nepartak brings a rough surf to the coast through Wednesday, AccuWeather Meteorologist Jake Sodja explained.
Kolohe Andino, of the United States, rides a wave during the first round of the men's surfing competition at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Sunday, July 25, 2021, at Tsurigasaki Beach in Ichinomiya, Japan. (Olivier Morin/Pool Photo via AP)
Olympic surfers faced difficult conditions on Monday as seas in the area of the Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach in Chiba Prefecture, about 50 miles away from Tokyo, became choppy and unpredictable, according to ESPN.
Water sports are not the only events that may be disrupted. A tennis match was halted Tuesday afternoon, local time, due to rain. The start of the women's triathlon was also briefly delayed Tuesday and then got underway, despite the wet conditions. Overall, though, minimal disruption is expected.
"As a whole, I think things should go on as scheduled," Richards said.
Staff move tires in the rain prior to the women's triathlon competition at the 2020 Summer Olympics Tuesday, July 27, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
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