As the opening ceremony of the grand sporting spectacle was taking place, a tropical depression formed on Friday morning, local time, north-northeast of Guam and the Mariana Islands, and continued to strengthen into a tropical storm late Friday local time, according to AccuWeather.
The storm named Nepartak, sustaining a wind speed of 40 mph (64 km/h) as of late Friday local time, is forecast to move northward over the weekend before taking a sharp turn westward towards mainland Japan.
AccuWeather meteorologist Jake Sojda said, “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.”
Although the possibility of the storm turning into a typhoon has not been completely ruled it, the wind shear is expected to limit the storm’s development.
Several outdoor events are due to take place next Monday and Tuesday, including beach volleyball, football and sailing, among others.
And if a storm was to make landfall early next week, most of those events, including the medal ceremonies for the canoe slalom and BMX racing, would be disrupted.
This tropical system is unlikely to have any influence on the few events taking place on Hokkaido’s island.
Any tropical cyclone that makes landfall in Japan during the games might cause problems, and potentially even cause certain events to be postponed.
“Outdoor activities will be at the greatest danger,” Sojda warned, citing the possibility of postponement due to heavy rain and strong gusts.
Meanwhile, if any tropical event brings a rough surf to the coast, water sports could potentially be extremely dangerous. These conditions are however expected to arrive a day or two before the actual storm and remain along the coast for up to two days after the storm has passed.
There have been a total of 67 events postponed due to severe weather in modern Olympic history. Except for one in 1906, which took place in the Intercalated Games, which are no longer regarded legitimate Olympic Games, all of the postponed events took place during a Winter Olympics.
If any events need to be postponed in Tokyo due to tropical weather, it would be the first documented time an event in a Summer Olympics is postponed due to weather.
The Tokyo Olympics started on July 23 and is scheduled to end on August 8.