Tropical Storm Nepartak in the Philippine Sea could put delay some events for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.
A tropical depression formed on Friday morning north-northeast of Guam and the Mariana Islands, and continued to strengthen, eventually becoming a tropical storm late Friday local time. The storm is forecast to move northward over the weekend before taking a sharp turn westward toward mainland Japan.
As of late Friday, Nepartak had 10-minute sustained winds of 40 mph (64 kph) and was slowly drifting to the north.
“While it’s still too early to have high confidence in the exact track and intensity of this system, there are early indications that it could threaten Tokyo later Monday or Tuesday, local time,” AccuWeather meteorologist Jake Sojda said.
AccuWeather forecasters say the system is expected to remain the equivalent of a tropical storm by the time it makes landfall along the eastern coast of Japan. While wind shear could limit the storm’s development, the system reaching typhoon strength upon its arrival onshore has not yet been ruled out.
The tropical threat comes as the 2020 Summer Tokyo Olympic Games get underway. The global spectacle began on Friday and will end Aug. 8.
“The greatest impact to the games would obviously come from a direct hit on Tokyo, where the majority of venues and events are located,” Sojda said. “However, even if the storm tracks farther north or south of Tokyo, there are some venues located farther away from the greater Tokyo metroplex that could still be impacted.”
The handful of events that are being held on the island of Hokkaido are unlikely to experience any impacts from this tropical system.
Any tropical development making landfall in Japan as the games persist could spell trouble — and possibly even the postponement of some events.
“Outdoor events will bear the greatest risk, as heavy rain and gusty winds could cause postponement,” Sojda said.