Tokyo Olympics

Tropical Storm Nepartak Heads Toward Japan, Possibly Impacting Olympic Events

The storm caused some events to be moved forward as a precaution and could bring higher waves to the surfing competitions

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With the Tokyo Olympics underway, in addition to facing obstacles from COVID, there may be a weather threat as well.

Tropical Storm Nepartak formed in the Philippine Sea, southeast of Japan and just north of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, a forecasting center in Hawaii operated by the U.S. Navy.

As of Sunday afternoon (in New York), the JTWC said that the storm had sustained winds of 40 mph, and could bring similar winds to Japan on Monday or Tuesday, as it makes landfall north of Tokyo. While it is not expected to strengthen into a typhoon (the equivalent to a hurricane for storms in the Atlantic Ocean), it can't be ruled out just yet.

An image of Nepartak's projected path as of Sunday at 12 p.m. ET

There are currently no storm watches or warnings issued in Japan.

There is still a lot of uncertainty regarding the storm, including its path and intensity. The JTWC said that the storm's path will become much clearer after it makes an expected turn to the northwest. Until then, the storm's track won't be certain, but the forecasted intensity of the storm will likely remain the same.

Sports that are most at risk of being impacted include any in the water, including surfing, rowing and sailing. Depending on the intensity of the storm, indoor events could be at risk as well, as a powerful enough storm with strong winds and rain could lead to power outages from downed trees and wires, as well as flash flooding.

Several rowing events were moved forward a day in anticipation of the storm.

Still, some were seemingly looking forward to the forecast. Australian surfer Owen Wright said in an Instagram post that he had just completed a warm-up session, calling the waves "small," but also seemingly looked forward to the possibility that "there is swell on the way!"

Weather is already playing a part in the early events and warm-ups for the Olympics, the extreme Japan heat in particular. A Russian archer collapsed in the hot weather while talking to a teammate after finishing the qualifying round Friday.

Temperatures in Tokyo were above 86 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat in Tokyo’s summer months already prompted organizers to move the marathons and race-walking events to the cooler city of Sapporo.

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