Tropical Storm Nepartak is scheduled to touch down in Japan on Tuesday morning, bringing battering wind and rain that could disrupt some events in the games.
Nepartak has already impacted some of the outdoor events such as archery, rowing and sailing, the Associated Press (AP) reported. Tokyo Games spokesman Masa Takaya says the storm is in the “weakest category” but is still considered a typhoon in Japan, according to The AP.
“The greatest impact to the games would obviously come from a direct hit on Tokyo, where the majority of venues and events are located,” said AccuWeather meteorologist Jake Sojda, according to The Hill. “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 weather could disrupt outdoor events, as well as indoor competition if power outages are prevalent.
#Olympics rowing races have been rescheduled to avoid impacts from Tropical Storm #Nepartak (not forecast to strengthen to a typhoon). #JMA forecasts at https://t.co/tFBhhDchu6 pic.twitter.com/uSNMREGrlM
— World Meteorological Organization (@WMO) July 26, 2021
Aside from postponing events, another concern is that Nepartak could send sewage water into Tokyo Bay, according to ESPN.
A Tokyo 2020 spokesperson told Reuters that they are monitoring the situation and tried to dispel fears about athlete health by citing stronger screens to ensure water quality, installing flow generators to deal with rising water temperatures and monitoring water quality daily.
“Among other actions, we will be carefully monitoring their operation when water temperatures approach the standards specified by the international federations,” the spokesperson said.
The storm is actually being viewed as a positive to some athletes, especially the Olympic surfers who will be competing in the games’ first ever surfing event. While their competition was delayed Monday due to low tide, Nepartak could create waves twice as high as expected as long as it does not make landfall, The AP reported.
Other athletes will be grateful for the break from the sweltering heat, which has defined the first three days of competition, according to AP. Japan is normally hot and humid during the summer months, though the nation is facing criticism for not accurately describing the severity during the Olympic bidding process, the outlet noted. (RELATED: Australian City Picked To Host 2032 Olympics)
Tropical storm Nepartak is the latest challenge for the 2020 games. Tokyo is currently experiencing a surge in cases, and locals fear the games will only exacerbate positive test results.