While the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo have already been postponed by a year, a typhoon that recently formed in the eastern Pacific Ocean might threaten the event.
The storm could bring winds of up to 78 mph on Tuesday with rainfall of up to 6 inches projected for the Kanto-Koshin region that includes Tokyo, The Mainichi newspaper reported. On the Saffir-Simpson scale, a cyclonic storm with 75 mph or greater winds is considered a hurricane in the Atlantic basin.
Rowing events scheduled for Tuesday were postponed, according to the World Rowing Executive Committee, due to poor weather that’s being forecasted. The organization said that the storm could bring high winds and strong gusts, which would create conditions unfavorable for racing on the water.
“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 on the website. AccuWeather forecasters said the system is expected to remain the equivalent of a tropical storm when it makes landfall on Japan’s eastern coast.
A spokesperson for the Tokyo Olympics said the situation is under control.
“Unlike an earthquake, we’re able to predict the path of a typhoon so we can make plans, and indeed when it comes to rowing, as a preventative measure, we have decided to change the schedule for the event,” said Tokyo 2020 spokesperson Takaya Masa in a statement to ESPN. “Changing the schedule is not a rare event, and we understand the burden it’ll have on athletes. We’re looking closely at the path of the typhoon to make decisions as preventative measures. Should it make land, there could be damages, and if that’s going to be the case, we will take responsible measures.”
To add to the troubles, there are concerns the typhoon would unleash raw sewage into Tokyo Bay, which would impact other events.
“We have installed triple-layer screens as a measure to help ensure water quality,” a Tokyo 2020 spokesman said to Reuters. “As well as thereby preventing the inflow of E.coli bacteria after rainfall, through daily monitoring of water quality and the weather we aim to stabilize water temperature by opening the screens during periods of fine weather when water quality is stable.